(19)
(11)EP 2 836 262 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
21.09.2016 Bulletin 2016/38

(21)Application number: 13719382.7

(22)Date of filing:  12.04.2013
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A61M 16/20(2006.01)
A61M 11/00(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/EP2013/001068
(87)International publication number:
WO 2013/152861 (17.10.2013 Gazette  2013/42)

(54)

NEBULISER WITH CODING MEANS

ZERSTÄUBER MIT CODIERVORRICHTUNG

ATOMISEUR AVEC MOYENS DE CODAGE


(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: 13.04.2012 EP 12164050

(43)Date of publication of application:
18.02.2015 Bulletin 2015/08

(73)Proprietor: Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH
55216 Ingelheim am Rhein (DE)

(72)Inventors:
  • BESSELER, Jens
    55216 Ingelheim Am Rhein (DE)
  • HOLAKOVSKY, Holger
    55216 Ingelheim am Rhein (DE)
  • GORSHOEFER, Andreas
    55216 Ingelheim Am Rhein (DE)
  • GATZ, Josef
    55216 Ingelheim Am Rhein (DE)
  • ARGAUER, Herbert
    55216 Ingelheim Am Rhein (DE)

(74)Representative: Simon, Elke Anna Maria 
Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH Binger Strasse 173
55216 Ingelheim am Rhein
55216 Ingelheim am Rhein (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2005/080002
WO-A1-2011/131779
WO-A1-2010/006870
WO-A2-2006/125577
  
      
    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


    [0001] The present invention relates to a nebuliser according to the preamble of claim 1 and a housing-like component for such a nebuliser according to the preamble of claim 16.

    [0002] The starting point of the present invention is a nebuliser sold under the brand name "Respimat" by Boehringer Ingelheim KG, in the form of an inhaler as described in basic terms in WO 91/14468 A1 and in a specific embodiment in WO 97/12687 A1 (Figures 6a, 6b) and in Figs. 1 and 2 of the appended drawings. The nebuliser comprises, as a reservoir for a fluid that is to be nebulised, an insertable container holding the fluid and a pressure generator having a drive spring for conveying and nebulising the fluid.

    [0003] To supplement the disclosure of the present patent application reference is hereby made, in a precautionary capacity, to the complete disclosure of both WO 91/14468 A1 and WO 97/12687 A1. Generally, the disclosure contained therein relates preferably to a nebuliser having a spring pressure of 5 to 60 mPa, preferably 10 to 50 mPa on the fluid, with volumes per actuation of 10 to 50 µl, preferably 10 to 20 µl, most preferably about 15 µl per actuation, and particle sizes of up to 20 µm, preferably 3 to 10 µm.

    [0004] Moreover, the disclosure contained therein relates preferably to a nebuliser with a cylinder-like shape and with dimensions of about 9 cm to about 15 cm in length and about 2 cm to about 5 cm in width and with a nozzle spray cone of 20° to 160°, preferably 80° to 100°. These values are deemed to be particularly preferred for the nebuliser according to the teaching of the invention as well.

    [0005] By rotating an actuating member in the form of a lower housing part of the nebuliser, the drive spring can be tensioned and fluid can be aspirated into a pressure chamber of the pressure generator. After manual actuation of a blocking element, the fluid in the pressure chamber is put under pressure by the drive spring and nebulised, i.e. discharged to form an aerosol. During the tensioning on the one hand and the subsequent nebulisation on the other hand the container performs an actuating movement.

    [0006] The nebuliser comprises a mechanical monitoring device which detects the rotation of the actuating member in order to count the number of actuations of the nebuliser.

    [0007] In the known nebulisers, containers may be used containing different fluids, i.e. in particular different medicaments or active substances. To protect such a nebuliser and a container for such a nebuliser more effectively from a mix-up with the container during use, WO 2005/080002 A1 proposed an improved nebuliser and an improved container.

    [0008] The fundamental improvement was to provide a coding so that only a specific container or a number of specific containers could be used with, in particular could be inserted in, a nebuliser intended for them. For this purpose, the nebuliser comprises first coding means, while second coding means are associated with the container. The coding means cooperate with one another such that the container with the associated second coding means can only be inserted in or used with the nebuliser when the coding means match or form a matching coding.

    [0009] As this publication forms the direct starting point of the present invention that constitutes the preamble of the above-mentioned claims, to supplement the disclosure of the present patent application reference is also made, in a precautionary capacity, to the complete disclosure of this specification.

    [0010] The known nebulisers, as well as the nebuliser according to the present invention, operate purely mechanically, i.e. with no propellant gas and with no electrics.

    [0011] Preferably, the coding also operates and works purely mechanically so that it can be provided in a simple and inexpensive manner and with a high degree of operational reliability.

    [0012] According to the prior art, the complementary coding means that are operatively connected can only ever provide a specific coding.

    [0013] In order to produce a different coding, it is necessary to use different coding means, both for the nebuliser and for the housing-like component.

    [0014] The present invention is based on the problem of providing a nebuliser or a housing-mounted component for such a nebuliser with improved coding options.

    [0015] The present problem is solved by a nebuliser according to claim 1 or by a housing-like component according to claim 16. Advantageous embodiments or further features of the invention can be inferred from the respective sub-claims.

    [0016] The invention therefore initially starts from a nebuliser for a fluid into which a container holding the fluid can be inserted, having a pressure generator for conveying and/or nebulising the fluid and preferably with a housing part that can be removed in order to insert the container, while coding means are provided which cooperate so that the container can only be inserted in the nebuliser or used therewith if the coding means have a matching coding.

    [0017] It is now provided, according to the invention, that at least one of the coding means can be mounted in different defined positions such that in each position a different coding is obtained in which the coding means match one another or by which the coding of the nebuliser, container or housing part is set.

    [0018] The proposed solution leads to a substantially greater flexibility in terms of the generation of possible codes without the need to replace or re-design all of the coding means if it is desired to change the code. As a result, the provision of differently configured coding means can be avoided, in spite of the use of different active substances in the nebuliser, different concentrations of active substances in the fluid and/or the amount of fluid added to the container up to a certain level.

    [0019] Thus with regard to the coding means the invention is moving more towards a concept of carry-over parts.

    [0020] According to a first embodiment of the invention it is provided that at least one of the coding means can be mounted in different defined positions on the nebuliser and at least one other of the coding means can be mounted in different defined positions or at least replaceably on the removable housing part. In this way, a comparatively large number of possible codings can be obtained while achieving a high proportion of carry-over parts.

    [0021] The possibility, at least, of replacing the coding means on the removable housing part means that if there is a need for a different coding it is not necessary to reconstruct the entire removable housing part but only to replace the coding means.

    [0022] According to another embodiment of the inventive concept, both the at least one coding means associated with the removable housing part and also the at least one other coding means associated with the nebuliser can be mounted in different defined positions. In this way it is possible to achieve the comparatively greatest flexibility.

    [0023] At the same time, expediently, if the coding does not match, at least the container is prevented from being fully inserted, and in particular it is impossible for the fluid to make contact with the pressure generator or a conveying tube.

    [0024] As already mentioned, the coding means preferably cooperate mechanically with one another, for reasons of simplicity and reliability.

    [0025] The coding means can be or are mounted on the nebuliser subsequently and/or in such a way that they can be released only using a special tool. This is intended on the one hand to increase the flexibility and on the other hand to allow for handling.

    [0026] The coding means are expediently mounted on the nebuliser in frictionally and/or positively locking manner, in particular by clipping, clamping or screwing.

    [0027] Moreover, at least one of the coding means is configured to be at least partly in the shape of a ring, sleeve, bracket, cam, web, groove and/or hook.

    [0028] According to another advantageous embodiment of the invention, it may be envisaged that the at least one coding means associated with the removable housing part is configured in the manner of part of the wall of an imaginary hollow cylinder, the wall having at least one freely passable groove extending in the direction of an axis of symmetry of the imaginary hollow cylinder, and that at least one other coding means associated with the nebuliser is provided in annular form, having at least one nose-like projection for movably engaging in the groove, the annular coding means comprising a plurality of openings on one of its end faces and a plurality of pin-like projections on an opposite end face.

    [0029] Such a design has good mechanical stability.

    [0030] According to another highly expedient embodiment of the inventive concept, as an additional feature, the at least one coding means associated with the removable housing part has a plurality of grooves, one groove of which is freely passable and the other grooves are rendered non-passable by transverse walls.

    [0031] The transverse walls may each be embodied in particular in the manner of a frangible point.

    [0032] In this way it is possible to carry out any desired coding of a coding means, configured in principle as a carry-over part, in a comparatively simple production step shortly before assembly in a nebuliser, by punching through the corresponding transverse walls of a groove accordingly.

    [0033] If two coding means associated with the removable housing part and two coding means associated with the nebuliser are provided, a comparatively large number of coding combinations can be achieved while ensuring high mechanical stability.

    [0034] According to another advantageous embodiment of the invention, the coding means associated with the removable housing part may comprise at least two walls each configured in the manner of part of the wall of an imaginary hollow cylinder, which are offset from one another particularly by about 180 degrees, the walls each having at least one groove extending in the direction of insertion of the container, and the walls being integrally connected to one another and the coding means associated with the nebuliser being of a sleeve-shaped configuration, while the walls of the coding means associated with the removable housing part radially surround the coding means associated with the nebuliser at least in parts and guide means for the coding means engage with one another.

    [0035] In this way the variety of parts needed can be reduced and the mounting of the coding means can be simplified. At the same time, good stability of the nebuliser is ensured.

    [0036] Conveniently, the coding means associated with the removable housing part can be moved into a position in which it is freely rotatable in the housing part, at least over a limited angular range, and by pushing further into the housing part can be moved into a position in which it is no longer rotatable.

    [0037] This makes it possible, by simple means, to fix the coding in the manufacturing process at the latest possible point in time. The final coding can be definitively determined by simple measures (rotation, pushing further in). This ensures a very assembly-friendly coding.

    [0038] Preferably, seven positions are provided into which the coding means associated with the nebuliser can be moved by rotation and further pushing into a clearly defined position which is no longer rotatable. Obviously a different number is also possible.

    [0039] Similarly, the coding means associated with the nebuliser can expediently be moved into a position in which it is freely rotatable on the nebuliser at least over a limited angular range and can be moved, by pushing further onto the nebuliser, into a position in which it is no longer rotatable. In this way, the advantages mentioned above can be achieved, while in this case preferably seven selectable positions are available in which the final coding for the coding means associated with the nebuliser can be fixed.

    [0040] According to another advantageous embodiment of the nebuliser according to the invention, at least two coding means with an annular outline are provided, each having openings or pin-like projections uniformly distributed around their circumference which respectively cooperate with pin-like projections or openings in the nebuliser or the removable housing part, respectively, while one coding means associated with the removable housing part comprises at least one projection extending in the direction of insertion of the container, and the other coding means associated with the nebuliser comprises at least one recess extending in the direction of insertion of the container, which is configured to accommodate the projection.

    [0041] This embodiment of the invention allows a flexibly adjustable coding with just a few, particularly only two, coding means.

    [0042] The recess and the projection may each be of rectangular configuration. Such a shape is easy to manufacture and also allows stable coding.

    [0043] The removable housing part may preferably comprise an encircling groove and the projection may have a radially outwardly directed hook-like nose for engaging in the groove.

    [0044] In this way, it can be very effectively ensured that the projection of the coding means associated with the removable housing part is not displaced radially inwardly, thereby interfering with the assembly of the removable housing part on the nebuliser and hence the insertion of the container.

    [0045] In other words, the projection of the coding means associated with the removable housing part is thus fixed radially externally on the removable housing part. This fixing may naturally be achieved by some other method. For example, such a fixing may also be supplied by latching means or the like.

    [0046] As already mentioned, however, the invention also relates to a housing-like component which can be used as a component of a nebuliser that is configured in particular according to one of the embodiments described above.

    [0047] The invention starts from a housing-like component which comprises at least one coding means for clearly identifying a container that can be attached to the housing-like component, the fluid held in the container, the active substance concentration of the fluid and/or the quantity of fluid held in the container.

    [0048] According to the invention, it is now proposed that the coding means be configured to be mountable, or at least replaceable, in different defined positions on or in the housing-like component.

    [0049] Thus, the housing-like component can also be adapted to different codings with only one coding means. At least when the coding has to be changed there is no need to replace the entire housing-like component, only the coding means, which will also result in cost savings.

    [0050] It may advantageously be envisaged that the coding means is configured in the manner of part of the wall of an imaginary hollow cylinder, the wall having at least one freely passable groove extending in the direction of an axis of symmetry of the imaginary hollow cylinder.

    [0051] It is particularly convenient if the wall of the coding means comprises several, particularly four, grooves, of which only one groove is freely passable. The other grooves can then be closed off by thin transverse walls, each preferably in the form of a frangible point.

    [0052] Before the manufacture of the housing-like component or before the final coding, all the grooves of the coding means are preferably closed off by the above-mentioned transverse walls. The transverse walls are expediently each located in the entry or exit region of the groove in question.

    [0053] For the final coding, the transverse walls of a selected groove are removed, preferably by punching through, and the groove is thus made freely passable. The transverse walls of the other grooves still remain.

    [0054] By the formation of transverse walls at both ends of the respective groove, two different codings can be obtained simply by rotating the coding means through 180 degrees.

    [0055] Preferably, two coding means are provided which are, in particular, arranged offset from one another by about 180 degrees in the housing-like component. Tests have shown that such an arrangement makes it possible to achieve good stability of the housing-like component with the coding located therein.

    [0056] The housing-like component may be of a very assembly-friendly design if the coding means has at least two walls, each configured in the manner of part of the wall of an imaginary hollow cylinder which are offset from one another by 180 degrees, in particular, the walls each having at least one groove extending in the direction of an axis of symmetry of the imaginary hollow cylinder and the walls being integrally connected to one another.

    [0057] However, according to another feature of the invention, the coding means may be of annular configuration and has, on its end faces, openings or pin-like projections uniformly distributed around the circumference, each cooperating with pin-like projections or openings on the housing-like component, the coding means having at least one projection extending out of a plane of the annular coding means.

    [0058] This is a possible method of providing the housing-like component with different coding using simple means, particularly only one coding means.

    [0059] The projection is preferably rectangular in configuration and can then cooperate with a correspondingly shaped recess in a coding means in a nebuliser into which the housing-like component is to be used or inserted.

    [0060] To facilitate assembly, the removable housing part has a peripheral groove and the projection has a radially outwardly directed hook-like nose for engaging in the groove.

    [0061] Thus, it is ensured that the projection is fixed radially outside on the inner wall of the removable housing part and therefore cannot accidentally move radially inwards and impede the mounting of the housing-like component on a nebuliser. Thanks to the groove provided around the inner wall of the housing-like component it is easy to secure the projection radially in any rotational position (coding) of the coding element.

    [0062] Expediently, a container holding a specific medicament or a specific active substance is connected to the housing-like component in fixed manner, i.e. so as to be releasable only by means of a special tool, and is thus embodied as a clearly coded retail unit that cannot be mistaken for another.

    [0063] The housing parts of the nebuliser and the removable housing part are preferably made of plastics by injection moulding. Preferably, polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) or acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene copolymer (ABS) can be used for this.

    [0064] Preferred embodiments of the invention are illustrated in the drawings and described in more detail in the description that follows. Identical reference numerals refer to identical, comparable or functionally similar components.

    [0065] The drawings schematically show:
    Fig. 1
    a longitudinal section through a known nebuliser in the untensioned state,
    Fig. 2
    a longitudinal section through the known nebuliser in the tensioned state, rotated through 90 degrees compared with Fig. 1,
    Fig. 3
    a perspective view of a proposed removable housing part with an active substance container which can be inserted in a proposed nebuliser,
    Fig. 4
    a partial perspective view of a proposed nebuliser on which the housing-like component according to Fig. 3 can be mounted,
    Fig. 5
    a longitudinal section through a proposed nebuliser with a releasable lower housing part already fitted,
    Fig. 6
    a perspective detailed view of a coding means used in the proposed releasable lower housing part,
    Fig. 7
    a representation of the coding means according to view VII in Fig. 6,
    Fig. 8
    a perspective representation of two coding means mounted on the proposed nebuliser according to Fig. 4 (upper housing part),
    Fig. 9
    the perspective view of a proposed releasable lower housing part according to a second embodiment,
    Fig. 10a to c
    the lower housing part according to Fig. 9 in a perspective view, showing different positions of the coding element,
    Fig. 11
    a perspective sectional view of the lower housing part according to Fig. 9 but without a container,
    Fig. 12a to c
    a perspective partial view of a proposed nebuliser on which the lower housing part according to Fig. 9 can be mounted, having a sleeve-like coding means, in different positions,
    Fig. 13
    a perspective view of a proposed nebuliser with the lower housing part fitted thereon, in a third embodiment,
    Fig. 14
    a perspective detailed view of the coding means used in the upper housing part or in the lower housing part of the proposed nebuliser according to Fig. 13,
    Fig. 15
    a partial section through the embodiment shown in Fig. 13, taken along sectional view XV,
    Fig. 16
    a sectional view rotated through 90 degrees in relation to Fig. 15,
    Fig. 17
    a perspective view of a proposed nebuliser with the lower housing part detached, according to a fourth embodiment,
    Fig. 18
    another perspective view of the nebuliser according to Fig. 17, but without lower housing part,
    Fig. 19
    a perspective view of the lower housing part of Fig. 17,
    Fig. 20
    a perspective view of the nebuliser according to Fig. 17, the lower housing part being moved closer to the upper part or inner part of the nebuliser,
    Fig. 21
    a partial enlargement of the encircled part on the left side of Fig. 20 for showing the cooperation of the coding means,
    Fig. 22
    a partial enlargement of the encircled part on the right side of Fig. 20 for showing the cooperation of the coding means,
    Fig. 23
    a sectional view of the nebuliser according to Fig. 17 with the lower housing part fitted thereon,
    Fig. 24
    a partial enlargement of the encircled part of Fig. 23, and
    Fig. 25
    a perspective view of the nebuliser according to Fig. 17 with detached coding means without lower housing part.


    [0066] In the figures the same reference numerals are used for identical or similar parts, where corresponding or comparable properties and advantages are obtained even though the description has not been repeated.

    [0067] Figs. 1 and 2 show a known nebuliser 1 for nebulising a fluid 2, particularly a highly effective medicament or the like, in a schematic view in the non-tensioned state (Fig. 1) and in the tensioned state (Fig. 2). The nebuliser 1 is embodied in particular as a portable inhaler and preferably operates without any propellant gas.

    [0068] When the fluid 2, preferably a liquid, more particularly a medicament, is nebulised, an aerosol is formed that can be breathed in or inhaled by a user (not shown).

    [0069] Usually the inhalation takes place at least once a day, particularly several times a day, preferably at predetermined time intervals.

    [0070] The nebuliser 1 has an insertable and preferably replaceable container 3 holding the fluid and forming a reservoir for the fluid 2 that is to be nebulised. Preferably, the container 3 contains sufficient fluid 2 for multiple applications, particularly for a predetermined administration period such as one month, or for at least 50, preferably at least 100 doses or sprays.

    [0071] The container 3 is substantially cylindrical or cartridge-shaped and can be inserted, and optionally replaced, in the nebuliser 1 after the latter has been opened. It is preferably of rigid construction, the fluid 2 preferably being held in a bag 4 within the container 3.

    [0072] The nebuliser 1 comprises a pressure generator 5 for conveying and nebulising the fluid 2, particularly in a predetermined, optionally adjustable dosage amount. The pressure generator 5 has a holder 6 for the container 3, an associated drive spring 7 (only partly shown) having a blocking element 8 that can be manually operated to release it, a conveying tube 9 with a non-return valve 10, a pressure chamber 11 and an expulsion nozzle 12 in the region of a mouthpiece 13.

    [0073] During the axial tensioning of the drive spring 7, the holder 6 with the container 3 and the conveying tube 9 is moved downwards, in the drawings, and fluid 2 is aspirated out of the container 3 into the pressure chamber 11 of the pressure generator 5 via the non-return valve 10. As the expulsion nozzle 12 has a very small cross-section of flow and is embodied in particular as a capillary, a throttle effect is produced that is strong enough to reliably prevent any air being sucked in at this point even without a non-return valve.

    [0074] During the subsequent relaxation after actuation of the locking element 8, the fluid 2 in the pressure chamber 11 is put under pressure by the drive spring 7 moving the conveying tube 9 back upwards - i.e. by spring force - and is expelled through the expulsion nozzle 12 where it is nebulised, particularly into particles in the µm or nm range, preferably into particles destined for the lungs measuring about 5 µm, which form a cloud or jet of aerosol 14, as indicated in Fig. 1. The conveying and nebulising of the fluid 2 are thus carried out purely mechanically, i.e. without propellant gas and without electrical means.

    [0075] A user (not shown) can inhale the aerosol 14, while an air supply can be sucked into the mouthpiece 13 through at least one air supply opening 15.

    [0076] The nebuliser 1 comprises an upper housing part 16 and an inner part 17 which is rotatable relative thereto, on which an in particular manually operable housing part 18 is releasably fixed, particularly fitted on, preferably by means of a retaining element 19. In order to insert and/or replace the container 3, the housing part 18 can be detached from the nebuliser 1.

    [0077] By manually rotating the housing part 18, the inner part 17 can be rotated relative to the upper housing part 16, by means of which the drive spring 7 can be tensioned in the axial direction by means of a gear (not shown) acting on the holder 6. During tensioning, the container 3 is moved axially downwards until the container 3 assumes an end position as shown in Fig. 2 in the tensioned state. During the nebulising process the container 3 is moved back into its original position by the drive spring 7.

    [0078] The housing part 18 preferably forms a cap-like lower housing part and fits around or over a lower free end position of the container 3, with which it can be pushed in a direction of insertion E onto or into the upper housing part 16 and attached thereto. As the drive spring 7 is tensioned, the container 3 moves with its end portion (further) into the housing part 18 or towards the end face thereof, while an axially acting spring 20 arranged in the housing part 18 comes to bear on the base 21 of the container and pierces the container 3 or a base seal thereon with a piercing element 22 when the container makes contact with it for the first time, to allow air in.

    [0079] The nebuliser 1 comprises a monitoring device 23 which counts the actuations of the nebuliser 1, preferably by detecting the rotation of the inner part 17 relative to the upper part 16 of the housing. The monitoring device 23 operates purely mechanically in the embodiment shown.

    [0080] The construction and mode of operation of a proposed nebuliser 1 and a proposed housing-like component 18 will now be described in more detail. Reference is made to Figs. 3 to 16. However, only the essential differences from the known nebuliser 1 shown in Figs. 1 and 2 will be emphasised. The remarks relating to Figs. 1 and 2 thus apply accordingly or in a supplementary capacity.

    [0081] Reference will be made first to Figs. 3 to 5.

    [0082] These show a first embodiment of a proposed nebuliser 1.

    [0083] The nebuliser 1 comprises an upper housing part 16 and a lower housing part 18 that can be releasably connected to the upper housing part 16.

    [0084] A container 3 holding a specific active substance is already fixedly attached within the lower housing part 18 or is inseparable there from, so that the lower housing part 18 forms a retail unit with the container 3.

    [0085] The lower housing part 18 is provided with a monitoring device 23.

    [0086] The lower housing part 18 accommodates one or preferably two coding means 26, preferably each having a freely passable groove 260 and a plurality of grooves 261 that are not freely passable.

    [0087] The form and function of the coding means 26 will be explained in more detail hereinafter.

    [0088] The upper housing part 16, in return, has one or preferably two identically constructed coding means 25 that are connected to a closure member 24.

    [0089] Moreover, pin-like projections 250 and a radially projecting nose 251 of the coding means 25 are shown.

    [0090] The closure member 24 is held in latching openings 170 of the inner part 17 by latching elements 240.

    [0091] A locking and unlocking element 242 is integrally connected to the closure member 24.

    [0092] The locking and unlocking element 242 can be pressed in radially and serves to lock or unlock the releasable lower housing part 18.

    [0093] Fig. 5 shows that the coding means 26 abut with their outer walls on the inner wall of the lower housing part 18. As will be explained in more detail below, they cooperate with the coding means 25 attached to the upper housing part 16.

    [0094] The container 3 is fixedly attached to the lower housing part 18 by a base element 28. In particular, the base element 28 comprises several, preferably four, spring-like arms which extend with their ends over a widening base region of the container 3.

    [0095] The shape and cooperation of the coding means 25 and 26 will now be explained by reference to Figs. 6 to 8.

    [0096] Each of the coding elements 26 is configured in the manner of part of the wall of an imaginary hollow cylinder H (cf. dashed curved lines in Fig. 7). The wall of the coding means 26 comprises four grooves 261 and 260, respectively, extending in the direction of an axis of symmetry S of the imaginary hollow cylinder H.

    [0097] The groove 260 is embodied as a freely passable groove, while the grooves 261 have a transverse wall 262 at least at one end, which blocks free passage.

    [0098] Fig. 8 is a more detailed view of the coding means 25 that are connected to the upper housing part 16.

    [0099] The coding means 25 are of identical construction and are annular in shape.

    [0100] The annular coding means 25 are provided with openings 252 on one end face and with pin-like projections 250 on the opposite side. The openings 252 are configured so that they are able to accommodate the pin-like projections 250, such that the coding means 25 can lie with their end faces against one another (cf. also Figs. 4 and 5).

    [0101] In addition, each coding means 25 comprises a nose 251 on its radially outer side.

    [0102] It is clear that the openings 252 and also the pin-like projections 250 are distributed equidistantly over the circumference of the annular coding means 25. Preferably, twelve openings 252 are provided on one end face and six pin-like projections 250 are provided on the opposite end face. Thus the coding means 25 and hence the noses 251 can be aligned in a plurality of angular positions relative to one another.

    [0103] The nose 251 is configured so that it can be accommodated in the freely passable groove 260 of the coding means 26 so as to be movable but safely guided.

    [0104] In the production process, depending on the desired coding, the two coding means 25 are fitted together by their end faces and then attached to the upper housing part 16, particularly on the closure member 24 attached to the inner part 17.

    [0105] Pin-like projections 241 of the closure member 24 which are provided on the end face engage in the openings 252 of the coding means 25 located above (cf. Fig. 5).

    [0106] The coding means 26 are latched to the inner wall of the lower housing part 18 in a manner not shown in detail.

    [0107] It should be mentioned that before the coding, the coding element 26 is configured so that all the grooves 260 and 261 are provided with the transverse walls 262 (located at the top in Fig. 6 and indicated by dashed lines below). The transverse walls 262 each preferably take the form of a kind of frangible point.

    [0108] For the final coding, each coding means 26 must be provided with a freely passable groove (the groove 260 in the embodiment shown). This is done by removing both transverse walls 262 of a groove. The transverse walls of the other grooves 261 have to retain at least one transverse wall 262 which has to be aligned with the upper housing part 16 (i.e. at the top, as in Fig. 6) in the assembly position of the coding means 26, to provide a clear coding.

    [0109] If both transverse walls 262 are left in place in the grooves 261 that are not freely passable (in contrast to the embodiment of Fig. 6), this also has the advantage that by swivelling the coding means 26 through 180° without any further modification a different coding can be achieved, as the freely passable groove 260 will then be in a different place.

    [0110] It will be understood that by the combination of the two coding means 26 with their four respective coding options (grooves) and the two annular coding means 25, a total of 16 possible codes can be obtained. This therefore provides a high degree of flexibility.

    [0111] Referring to Figs. 9 to 12, a second embodiment of the proposed nebuliser 1 will now be described.

    [0112] A coding means 27 which comprises at least one or two walls each configured in the manner of part of the wall of an imaginary hollow cylinder (comparable with the coding means 26 in Fig. 6) is inserted in the releasable lower housing part 18.

    [0113] In this embodiment, the lower housing part 18 is also inseparably or already fixedly connected to a container 3 preferably as a retail unit, preferably the container 3 additionally being radially supported via an annular support element 29.

    [0114] The walls of the coding means 27 are preferably offset from one another by about 180 degrees, the walls each having at least one groove 270 extending in the direction of insertion of the container 3.

    [0115] The walls are integrally connected to one another, as is clear particularly from Fig. 11.

    [0116] This figure clearly also shows the base element 28 which serves to attach the container 3 at its base by means of radially inwardly bent arms 281.

    [0117] Radially outwardly bent arms 280 engage behind the base region of the coding means 27 and hold the latter securely in the lower housing part 18 so that they cannot get lost. In the embodiment shown, the grooves 270 are also offset from one another by about 180 degrees.

    [0118] As can be seen from Fig. 10 in particular, the two walls of the coding means 27 are provided in the lower region with elongate groove-like indentations 271. Preferably, seven such indentations 271 are provided.

    [0119] By contrast, the lower housing part 18 comprises, on its inner wall, in the region of the indentations 271, at least one elongate bulge (not shown in detail) which may correspond to at least one of the elongate indentations 271.

    [0120] Obviously, it is also possible to provide indentations on the lower housing part 18 and bulges on the walls of the coding means 27.

    [0121] It will readily be understood that the coding element 27 may thus assume seven possible clearly defined positions.

    [0122] Figs. 10a to c show how easy it is to fix the final coding of the lower housing part 18 in the manufacturing process.

    [0123] Thus the lower housing part 18 is in an uncoded state in Fig. 10a. The coding means 27 project from the lower housing part 18 to such an extent that the elongate indentations 271 of the coding means 27 are not in engagement with the elongate bulges in the lower housing part 18.

    [0124] Therefore the coding means 27 is freely rotatable over a specific angular range about a longitudinal axis L of the container 3 or the lower housing part 18.

    [0125] In accordance with the seven elongate bulges 271 provided, one of these seven possible positions can thus be selected by free rotation.

    [0126] In Fig. 10b a possible position has been selected by rotation to the left, a final fixing or coding then being obtained by pushing or pressing the coding means 27 into the lower housing part 18 by the cooperation of the elongate indentations 271 with elongate bulges on the lower housing part 18 (Fig. 10c).

    [0127] Figs. 12a to c show the upper housing part 16 corresponding to this embodiment by way of example.

    [0128] The upper housing part 16 is provided with a sleeve-like coding means 30.

    [0129] The sleeve-like coding means 30 is pushed over the inner part 17 of the upper housing part 16.

    [0130] In accordance with the coding on the lower housing part 18 as described above, a final coding can also be produced very late in the manufacturing process with the upper housing part 16 as well.

    [0131] Thus Fig. 12a shows the coding means 30 in a neutral position in which it has not yet been coded and in particular is still freely rotatable relative to the inner part 17 over a certain angular range about its longitudinal axis L.

    [0132] In particular, an interstice is thus formed between the locking and unlocking element 242 and the inner part 17 such that the rotation of the coding means 30 is unimpeded.

    [0133] The coding means 30 also comprises two rib-like projections 301 preferably offset by 180 degrees which are configured to engage in the grooves 270 of the coding means 27 of the upper housing part 18.

    [0134] The coding means 30, preferably uniformly distributed at four points around the circumference, are also provided with seven elongate recesses 300. The recesses 300 are embodied so as to cooperate with corresponding elongate projections 171 on the inner part 17 which are arranged on the inner part 17, preferably offset by 90° around the circumference.

    [0135] In Fig. 12b the coding means 30 has been rotated to the right from its neutral position into a possible final position and then in Fig. 12c pushed further onto the inner part, so that one of the elongate recesses 300 can cooperate with one of the elongate projections 171 and thus fix the coding of the upper housing part 16 as well.

    [0136] Thus, seven possible codes can be produced easily using identical components.

    [0137] A third embodiment of the proposed nebuliser 1 will be described with reference to Figs. 13 to 16.

    [0138] The coding of the nebuliser 1 has only two annular coding elements 31 and 32 in this embodiment.

    [0139] The annular coding elements 31 and 32 are described in more detail in Fig. 14.

    [0140] It is apparent that the coding elements 31 and 32 each have a substantially L-shaped cross-section, the coding element 31 preferably having twelve through-openings 310 on the end face (i.e. located in the horizontal region of the arm of the L ), which are distributed equidistantly over the circumference.

    [0141] Similarly, the coding element 32 preferably has twelve through-openings 320 on its end face, distributed equidistantly over the circumference.

    [0142] For matching the code, the coding means 32 is provided with a rectangular projection 321 which extends in a direction of insertion E (cf. Fig. 15) of the container 3 towards the upper housing part 16 or the inner part 17.

    [0143] In corresponding manner the coding means 31 is provided with a rectangular recess 311 which is configured so that it can cooperate in mating manner with the projection 321.

    [0144] Figs. 15 and 16 in particular show that the coding means 31 is connected to the upper housing part 16 and the coding means 32 is connected to the lower housing part 18.

    [0145] Specifically, the coding means 31 with its through-openings 310 in a selection position is pushed onto the pin-like projections 241 of the closure member 24 (in comparable manner to the upper ring 25 in Fig. 5), the closure member 24 having been attached to the inner part 17 of the upper housing part 16.

    [0146] The coding means 31 are thus fixed in a defined position.

    [0147] The coding means 32 are pushed onto pin-like projections 181 of the lower housing part 18 by means of the through-openings 320 and thus held in a defined position as well.

    [0148] The rectangular projection 321 is additionally provided, at its upper end, with a radially outwardly directed nose 322 which, in the assembly position of the coding means 32, engages behind a radially encircling groove 180 of the lower housing part 18.

    [0149] Thus the projection 321 is securely held in the lower housing part 18 without being able to shift radially inwards and prevent the lower housing part 18 and upper housing part 16 from being joined together when their codes match.

    [0150] If the codes do not match, i.e. if the projection 321 on the one hand and the recess 311 on the other hand in the lower housing part 18 and upper housing part 16, respectively, are each in a different angular position, it is not possible to fit the housing parts 16 and 18 together completely.

    [0151] In particular, the projection 321 has a height h which is such that the conveying tube 9 contained in the upper housing part 16 cannot pass far enough into the container 3 to cause contamination of the conveying tube 9 with the active substance held in the container 3.

    [0152] Both the pin-like projections 241 of the closure member 24 which is annular in this region, and the pin-like projections 181 of the lower housing part 18 are distributed equidistantly around the circumference in the same way as the through-openings 310 and 320. Thus the coding means 31 and 32 can be mounted in defined manner in a number of different positions in the upper housing part 16 and in the lower housing part 18.

    [0153] In the following, a forth embodiment of the nebuliser 1 of the present invention will be described with respect to Fig. 17 to 25. Primarily, essential differences will be described in the following so that the general remarks and the remarks relating to the other embodiments shall preferably apply in addition or in a similar manner. In particular, the forth embodiment is relatively similar to the second embodiment so that the respective remarks, features and aspects may apply in a similar manner or in addition.

    [0154] Fig. 17 shows the nebuliser 1 in a perspective view with detached housing part 18. The container 3 is preferably inseparable from the housing part 18.

    [0155] The housing part 18 forms preferably part of the outer housing of the nebuliser 1.

    [0156] A coding means 30 is associated with the nebuliser 1, in particular with the upper part 16 or inner part 17 of the nebuliser 1. This coding means 30 is also called first coding means in the following.

    [0157] An other coding means 27 is associated with the lower housing part 18 for providing a code or coding for the lower housing part 18 and, thus, for the container 3 and/or fluid 2 (not shown) contained in the container 3. This coding means 27 is also called second coding means in the following in order to facilitate differentiation between the different coding means.

    [0158] Generally, the coding means 27 and 30 are constructed to cooperate such that the container 3 can only be (completely) inserted into or fluidically connected with the nebuliser 1 or used therewith only when the coding means 27, 30 have a matching code or coding. With other words, a container 3 or lower housing part 18 with a non-matching coding cannot be used. Thus, the code or coding is used in particular to select between different containers 3 or preferably between different housing part 18 having different codings.

    [0159] In particular, the housing part 18 can be (completely) mounted or pushed on the nebuliser 1, in particular its upper part 16 or inner part 17, only when the codings of both coding means 27, 30 matches.

    [0160] Fig. 18 shows the nebuliser 1 of the forth embodiment without housing part 18 in a perspective view from below.

    [0161] The first coding means 30 is mountable in different positions, in particular different rotational positions, on the nebuliser 1, in particular on the inner part 17 of the nebuliser 1 or any other part (except lower housing part 18) of the nebuliser 1.

    [0162] The different positions and, thus, codings are preferably indicated by markings 33, in particular numbers in the present embodiment or any other symbols or the like.

    [0163] In the present embodiment, multiple or more than 2 or 3 positions, preferably 7 different positions are possible.

    [0164] Fig. 19 shows the lower housing part 18 with the second coding means 27 in a perspective view.

    [0165] The second coding means 27 may be formed or realized as described with respect to one of the above embodiments, in particular as described with respect to the first or second embodiment.

    [0166] Preferably, the second coding means 27, comprises at least one freely passable groove 270. Further, the second coding means 27 may comprise multiple non-freely passible grooves 271 wherein at least one of these grooves 271 can be made freely passable (in particular by removing a transverse wall or the like) for forming the freely passable groove 270 and, thus, coding the second coding means 27 as desired. For example, one or two or more groves 270 can be made freely passible to set the coding as desired, in particular so that the coding of the housing part 18 matches with the coding of the first coding means 30 or nebuliser 1.

    [0167] The second coding means 27 can be formed by one or more inserts, coding elements or the like. Alternatively, the second coding means 27 may be formed by respective recesses, grooves 270 or the like formed in or by the housing part 18 or any other component associated with the housing part 18 or container 3.

    [0168] Further, it is possible that the second coding means 27, i.e. the coding means associated with the container 3 and/or housing part 18, cannot be mounted in different defined positions or set regarding the coding. Instead, the coding may be predefined or fixed. Then, preferably different housing parts 18 comprising different second coding means 27 are used for different coding. In particular, the different housing parts 18 are different with respect to the circumferential location of the second coding means 27 and/or freely passable groove(s) 270.

    [0169] Fig. 20 to 23 show such an alternative wherein each housing part 18 comprises only one predefined coding, in particular wherein the associated second coding means 27 is not mountable in different defined positions and/or wherein the coding cannot be modified, i.e. by removing transverse walls or the like.

    [0170] In the present embodiment, multiple or 7 different housing parts 18 may be used in order to realise multiple or 7 different codings corresponding to multiple or 7 different codings that are possible for the nebuliser 1, inner part 17 and/or first coding means 30.

    [0171] As shown inter alia in Fig. 20, the first coding means 30 comprises preferably at least one, here two projections 301 which preferably extend radially and/or outwardly. These projections 301 can interact with or move into corresponding and/or freely passable grooves 270 when the housing part 18 is mounted on the nebuliser 1 or inner part 17 when the coding of the first and second coding means 30, 27 matches.

    [0172] Fig. 21 shows in a partial enlargement of the left encircled part of Fig. 20 the situation just before a projection 301 is moved into the corresponding groove 270 formed at or in and/or by the housing part 18. Fig. 22 shows in a similar enlargement of the right encircled part of Fig. 20 the similar situation for the second projection.

    [0173] Preferably, the projections 301 protrude in different, opposite and/or circumferentially offset directions.

    [0174] Fig. 23 shows a schematic sectional view of the nebuliser 1 with (completely) closed or mounted housing part 18 (without container 3). It shows in particular the engagement of the first coding means 30 into the second coding means 27 or of the at least one protection 301 into the respective groove 270.

    [0175] It has to be noted that the term "freely passable" means in particular that the respective projection 301 can move axially into the groove 270 or can pass this groove 270 such that the nebuliser 1 can be closed completely, i.e. such that the housing part 18 can be mounted or pushed on the nebuliser 1 or its inner part 17 completely.

    [0176] Fig. 24 shows a partial enlargement of the encircled part of Fig 23. Fig. 25 shows the nebuliser 1 without housing part 18 and with detached coding means 30.

    [0177] The coding means 30 is preferably formed by a separate part that is mounted or mountable on the nebulizer 1, in particular on the inner part 17 or any other component of the nebulizer 1 or upper part 16.

    [0178] The coding means 30 is preferably ring-like or comprises a preferably a ring-like portion 302.

    [0179] In particular, the coding means 30 comprises a preferably ring-like or sleeve-like connecting portion 302. This connecting or ring portion 302 holds preferably the at least one projection 301.

    [0180] Preferably, the projection 301 protrudes axially over the connecting or ring portion 302 and/or over the inner part 17 and/or an optional cover ring 34 arranged around or on the inner part 17. Preferably, the connecting or ring portion 302 is located axially adjacent to the cover ring 34 when the first coding means 30 is mounted on the nebuliser 1 or inner part 17.

    [0181] In the present embodiment, the markings 33 are arranged preferably at or on the cover ring 34.

    [0182] The coding means 30 is preferably mounted or secured on the nebuliser 1 or inner part 17 by snap-fit and/or form-fit.

    [0183] In the present embodiment, the coding means 30 or connecting/ring portion 302 comprises preferably engagement means, in particular one or more teeth 303, for engaging with the nebuliser 1, cover ring 34 or inner part 17, in particular with corresponding engagement means formed thereon, such as one or more engagement recesses 172 or the like, as shown in particular in Fig. 25.

    [0184] Preferably, the teeth 303 protrude inwardly and/or are arranged at the connecting or ring portion 302.

    [0185] Preferably, the inner part 17 comprises one or more axially extending tongues 173 with one or more engagement recesses 172 for holding the coding means 30 by engagement of one or more teeth 303.

    [0186] Preferably, the coding means 30 can be mounted on the nebuliser 1 as final part, i.e. after all other parts have been mounted.

    [0187] Preferably, the coding means 30 comprises is rotationally aligned with the nebuliser 1 or its inner part 17 depending on the desired coding, preferably in consideration of the markings 33, and then pushed axially on the inner part 17 and, thus, - preferably unreleasably - fixed at or snapped on the nebuliser 1 / inner part 17.

    [0188] In order to facilitate the rotational positioning of the coding means 30 or the indication of its rotational position, one projection 301 or an optional point or indicator 304 of the coding means 30 may point to the respective marking 33. In the present embodiment, one or more indicators 304 are formed at the side of the projections 301 as shown in Fig. 25.

    [0189] In general, the housing part 18 comprises preferably a non-circular and/or receiving portion 35 for receiving the retaining element 19 and/or comprises preferably an engagement portion 36, in particular so that the housing part 18 is connectable to or mountable on the nebuliser 1 or its inner part 17 generally only in one defined rotational position. The coding means 27 or at least one preferably freely passable groove 270 is an additional element or feature of the housing part 18 and located in different rotational positions depending on the coding. Thus, the coding allows selection between similar housing parts 18 with different codings.

    [0190] The embodiments described hereinbefore, especially individual elements and aspects of the embodiments, may be combined with one another and/or reversed in their kinematic operation, as necessary. In particular, the number and arrangement of the defined selectable positions of the coding means may be varied as necessary and adapted to the particular conditions.

    List of Reference Numerals



    [0191] 
    1
    nebulizer
    2
    fluid
    3
    container
    4
    bag
    5
    pressure generator
    6
    holder
    7
    drive spring
    8
    blocking element
    9
    conveying tube
    10
    non return valve
    11
    pressure chamber
    12
    expulsion nozzle
    13
    mouthpiece
    14
    aerosol
    15
    air supply opening
    16
    upper housing part
    17
    inner part
    170
    latching openings
    171
    elongate projections
    172
    engagement recess
    173
    tongue
    18
    releasable housing part (lower part)
    180
    encircling groove
    181
    pin-like projections
    19
    retaining element
    20
    spring (in lower housing part)
    21
    container base
    22
    piercing element
    23
    monitoring device
    24
    closure member with latching elements for securing
    240
    latching element
    241
    pin-like projections
    242
    locking / unlocking element
    25
    annular coding means
    250
    pin-like projections
    251
    nose
    252
    openings
    26
    coding means in the removable housing part
    260
    freely passable groove
    261
    non-freely passable groove
    262
    transverse walls
    27
    coding means in the removable housing part
    270
    groove
    271
    elongate indentations
    28
    base element
    280
    outwardly bent arms
    281
    inwardly bent arms
    29
    annular support element
    30
    sleeve-like coding means
    300
    elongate recesses
    301
    rib-like projection
    302
    connecting or ring portion
    303
    tooth
    304
    indicator
    31
    annular coding means
    310
    through-opening
    311
    rectangular recess
    32
    annular coding means
    320
    through-opening
    321
    rectangular projection
    322
    nose
    33
    marking
    34
    cover ring
    35
    receiving portion
    36
    engagement portion
    E
    direction of insertion or introduction of the container into the upper or lower housing part
    h
    height of the projection
    H
    hollow cylinder
    L
    longitudinal axis
    S
    axis of symmetry of the hollow cylinder



    Claims

    1. Nebuliser (1) for a fluid (2), into which a container (3) holding the fluid (2) can be inserted, having a pressure generator (5) for conveying and/or nebulising the fluid (2) and with a housing part (18) which is removable for the insertion of the container (3), coding means (25,26; 27,30; 31,32) being provided which cooperate such that the container (3) can only be inserted into the nebuliser (1) or used therewith when the coding means (25,26; 27,30; 31,32) have a matching coding,
    characterised in
    that at least a coding means (25,30; 31) which is associated with the nebulizer (1) is formed by a separate part that is mountable on the nebulizer (1) or on a component of the nebulizer (1) in different defined positions such that in each position a different coding is obtained in which the coding means (25,26; 27,30; 31,32) match one another or by which the coding of the nebulizer (1) is set and such that the nebulizer (1) can be adapted to different codings with only one coding means (25,30;31).
     
    2. Nebuliser according to claim 1, characterised in that the nebulizer comprises a housing part (18) which is removable for the insertion of the container (3) and in that the coding means (25,30,31) associated with the nebulizer (1) is mountable on the nebuliser (1) in different defined positions and at least one other (26,27,32) of the coding means (26; 27, 32) is mountable on the removable housing part (18) in different defined positions.
     
    3. Nebuliser according to one of the preceding claims, characterised in that the at least one coding means (26) associated with the removable housing part (18) is configured in the manner of part of the wall of an imaginary hollow cylinder (H), the wall having at least one freely passable groove (260) extending in the direction of an axis of symmetry (S) of the imaginary hollow cylinder (H).
     
    4. Nebuliser according to claim 3, characterised in that the at least one coding means (26) associated with the removable housing part (18) comprises a plurality of grooves (260,261), of which one groove (260) is freely passable and the other grooves (261) are rendered non-passable by transverse walls (262).
     
    5. Nebuliser according to claim 1 or 2, characterised in that the coding means (30) associated with the nebuliser (1) can be brought into a position in which it is freely rotatable on the nebuliser (1) at least over a limited angular range and by being pushed further onto the nebuliser (1) can be moved into a position in which it is no longer rotatable.
     
    6. Nebuliser according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the coding means (30) associated with the nebuliser (1) is ring-like or comprises a connecting or ring portion (302).
     
    7. Nebuliser according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the coding means (30) associated with the nebuliser (1) comprises at least one projection (301) preferably projecting radially and/or outwardly.
     
    8. Nebuliser according to claim 7, characterized in that the coding means (30) associated with the nebuliser (1) comprises a connecting or ring portion (302) and in that the at least one projection (301) protrudes axially over the connecting or ring portion.
     
    9. Nebuliser according to claim 6 or 8, characterized in that the coding means (30) associated with the nebuliser (1) comprises a connecting or ring portion (302) and in that the connecting or ring portion (302) comprises engagement means, preferably inner teeth (303), for mounting or securing the coding means (30) on the nebuliser (1) or inner part (17).
     
    10. Nebuliser according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the coding means (30) associated with the nebuliser (1) is mounted or secured on the nebuliser (1) or inner part (17) by snap-fit and/or form-fit, in particular engages with at least one tooth (303) into an engagement recess (304) or vice versa.
     
    11. Nebuliser according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the coding means (30) associated with the nebuliser (1) is mountable in different rotational positions on the nebuliser (1) or inner part (17).
     
    12. Nebuliser according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the nebuliser (1) or inner part (17) comprises markings (33) indicating different rotational positions for facilitating setting the coding when mounting the coding means (30) on the nebuliser (1) or its inner part (17).
     
    13. Nebuliser according to claim 12, characterized in that a projection (301) or an indicator (304) of the coding means (30) points to one of the markings (33) depending on the selected rotational position of the coding means (30).
     
    14. Nebuliser according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that one coding means (30) is associated to the nebuliser (1) and the other coding means (27) is associated to the housing part (18) wherein the container (3) is inseparable from the housing part (18).
     
    15. Nebuliser according to any one of the preceding claims, characterized in that the housing part (18) comprises a non-circular and/or receiving portion (35) for a retaining element (19) of the nebuliser (1) and/or an engagement portion (36) so that the housing part (18) is connectable to the nebuliser (1) or its inner part (17) only in a defined rotational position and in that the housing part (18) is provided additionally with the associated coding means (27) or at least one preferably freely passable groove (270) located in different rotational positions depending on the coding of housing part (18) or coding means (27).
     
    16. Housing-like component (18) which can be used as a component of a nebuliser (1) that is configured according to one of the preceding claims, wherein the housing-like component (18) has at least one coding means (26,27,32) for clearly identifying a container (3) that can be attached to the housing-like component (18), the fluid (2) held in the container (3), the active substance concentration of the fluid (2) and/or the amount of fluid (2) that has been added to the container (3),
    characterised in
    that the coding means (26,27,32) is mountable, on or in the housing-like component (18) in different defined positions and such that the housing-like component (18) can be adapted to different codings with only one coding means (26,27,32).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Zerstäuber (1) für ein Fluid (2), in welchen ein Behälter (3), der das Fluid (2) enthält, eingebracht werden kann, mit einem Druckerzeuger (5) zum Befördern und/oder Zerstäuben des Fluids (2) und mit einem Gehäuseteil (18), der zum Einbringen des Behälters (3) abnehmbar ist, wobei Codiervorrichtungen (25, 26; 27, 30; 31, 32) bereitgestellt sind, die derart zusammenwirken, dass der Behälter (3) nur in den Zerstäuber (1) eingeführt bzw. eingebracht oder damit verwendet werden kann, wenn die Codiervorrichtungen (25, 26; 27, 30; 31, 32) eine übereinstimmende Codierung aufweisen,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass
    wenigstens eine Codiervorrichtung (25, 30; 31), die mit dem Zerstäuber (1) verknüpft ist, durch einen separaten Teil gebildet wird, der an dem Zerstäuber (1) oder an einer Komponente des Zerstäubers (1) in unterschiedlichen definierten Positionen derart montiert werden kann, dass in jeder Position eine andere Codierung erhalten wird, in welcher die Codiervorrichtungen (25, 26; 27, 30; 31, 32) miteinander übereinstimmen, oder durch welche die Codierung des Zerstäubers (1) eingestellt wird, und derart, dass der Zerstäuber (1) mit nur einer Codiervorrichtung (25, 30; 31) an unterschiedliche Codierungen angepasst werden kann.
     
    2. Zerstäuber nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Zerstäuber einen Gehäuseteil (18) umfasst, der zum Einführen bzw. Einbringen des Behälters (3) abnehmbar ist, und dadurch, dass die mit dem Zerstäuber (1) verknüpfte Codiervorrichtung (25, 30, 31) an dem Zerstäuber (1) in unterschiedlichen definierten Positionen montiert werden kann und wenigstens eine weitere (26, 27, 32) der Codiervorrichtungen (26; 27, 32) an dem abnehmbaren Gehäuseteil (18) in unterschiedlichen definierten Positionen montiert werden kann.
     
    3. Zerstäuber nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die wenigstens eine mit dem abnehmbaren Gehäuseteil (18) verknüpfte Codiervorrichtung (26) nach Art eines Teils der Wand eines imaginären Hohlzylinders (H) ausgebildet ist, wobei die Wand wenigstens eine ungehindert passierbare Rille bzw. Nut (260) aufweist, die sich in der Richtung einer Symmetrieachse (S) des imaginären Hohlzylinders (H) erstreckt.
     
    4. Zerstäuber nach Anspruch 3, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die wenigstens eine mit dem abnehmbaren Gehäuseteil (18) verknüpfte Codiervorrichtung (26) eine Vielzahl von Rillen bzw. Nuten (260, 261) umfasst, von welchen eine Rille bzw. Nut (260) ungehindert passierbar ist und die anderen Rillen bzw. Nuten (261) durch Querwände (262) unpassierbar gemacht werden.
     
    5. Zerstäuber nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die mit dem Zerstäuber (1) verknüpfte Codiervorrichtung (30) in eine Position gebracht werden kann, in welcher sie auf dem Zerstäuber (1) wenigstens über einen begrenzten Winkelbereich ungehindert drehbar ist, und durch weiteres Drücken auf den Zerstäuber (1) in eine Position bewegt werden kann, in welcher sie nicht länger drehbar ist.
     
    6. Zerstäuber nach irgendeinem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die mit dem Zerstäuber (1) verknüpfte Codiervorrichtung (30) ringartig ist oder einen Verbindungs- oder Ringabschnitt (302) umfasst.
     
    7. Zerstäuber nach irgendeinem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die mit dem Zerstäuber (1) verknüpfte Codiervorrichtung (30) wenigstens einen Vorsprung (301) umfasst, der bevorzugt radial und/oder nach außen hervorsteht.
     
    8. Zerstäuber nach Anspruch 7, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die mit dem Zerstäuber (1) verknüpfte Codiervorrichtung (30) einen Verbindungs- oder Ringabschnitt (302) umfasst, und dadurch, dass der wenigstens eine Vorsprung (301) axial über den Verbindungs- oder Ringabschnitt hervorsteht.
     
    9. Zerstäuber nach Anspruch 6 oder 8, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die mit dem Zerstäuber (1) verknüpfte Codiervorrichtung (30) einen Verbindungs- oder Ringabschnitt (302) umfasst, und dadurch, dass der Verbindungs- oder Ringabschnitt (302) Einguffsvoruchtungen umfasst, bevorzugt Innenzähne (303), zum Montieren oder Sichern der Codiemorrichtung (30) an dem Zerstäuber (1) oder dem Innenteil (17).
     
    10. Zerstäuber nach irgendeinem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die mit dem Zerstäuber (1) verknüpfte Codiervorrichtung (30) an dem Zerstäuber (1) oder dem Innenteil (17) durch Verrastung und/oder Formschluss montiert oder gesichert ist, insbesondere tritt sie mit wenigstens einem Zahn (303) in einer Eingriffsvertiefung (304) in Eingriff oder umgekehrt.
     
    11. Zerstäuber nach irgendeinem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die mit dem Zerstäuber (1) verknüpfte Codiervorrichtung (30) in unterschiedlichen Drehpositionen an dem Zerstäuber (1) oder dem Innenteil (17) montiert werden kann.
     
    12. Zerstäuber nach irgendeinem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Zerstäuber (1) oder der Innenteil (17) Markierungen (33) umfasst, die unterschiedliche Drehpositionen zum Erleichtern der Einstellung der Codierung bei der Montage der Codiervorrichtung (30) an dem Zerstäuber (1) oder dem Innenteil (17) anzeigen.
     
    13. Zerstäuber nach Anspruch 12, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass ein Vorsprung (301) oder ein Indikator (304) der Codiervorrichtung (30) in Abhängigkeit von der ausgewählten Drehposition der Codiervorrichtung (30) auf eine der Markierungen (33) zeigt.
     
    14. Zerstäuber nach irgendeinem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass eine Codiervorrichtung (30) mit dem Zerstäuber (1) verknüpft ist und die andere Codiervorrichtung (27) mit dem Gehäuseteil (18) verknüpft ist, wobei der Behälter (3) nicht von dem Gehäuseteil (18) getrennt werden kann.
     
    15. Zerstäuber nach irgendeinem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Gehäuseteil (18) einen nicht kreisförmigen und/oder Aufnahmeabschnitt (35) für ein Halteelement (19) des Zerstäubers (1) und/oder einen Eingriffsabschnitt (36) umfasst, so dass der Gehäuseteil (18) mit dem Zerstäuber (1) oder seinem Innenteil (17) nur in einer definierten Drehposition verbunden werden kann, und dadurch, dass der Gehäuseteil (18) zusätzlich mit der verknüpften Codiervorrichtung (27) oder wenigstens einer bevorzugt ungehindert passierbaren Rille bzw. Nut (270) versehen ist, die in Abhängigkeit von der Codierung des Gehäuseteils (18) oder der Codiervorrichtung (27) in unterschiedlichen Drehpositionen angeordnet ist.
     
    16. Gehäuseartige Komponente (18), die als eine Komponente eines Zerstäubers (1) verwendet werden kann, der nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche konfiguriert ist, wobei die gehäuseartige Komponente (18) wenigstens eine Codiervorrichtung (26, 27, 32) zur eindeutigen Identifizierung eines Behälters (3), der an der gehäuseartigen Komponente (18) befestigt werden kann, des in dem Behälter (3) enthaltenen Fluids (2), der Konzentration der aktiven Substanz bzw. Wirksubstanz des Fluids (2) und/oder der Menge an Fluid (2), die in den Behälter (3) gegeben wurde, aufweist,
    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass
    die Codiervorrichtung (26, 27, 32) an oder in der gehäuseartigen Komponente (18) in unterschiedlichen definierten Positionen montiert werden kann, und derart, dass die gehäuseartige Komponente (18) mit nur einer Codiervorrichtung (26, 27, 32) an unterschiedliche Codierungen angepasst werden kann.
     


    Revendications

    1. Atomiseur (1) pour un fluide (2), dans lequel un récipient (3) contenant le fluide (2) peut être introduit, comportant un générateur de pression (5) pour acheminer et/ou atomiser le fluide (2) et une partie de logement (18) qui est amovible pour l'introduction du récipient (3), des moyens de codage (25, 26 ; 27, 30 ; 31, 32) étant fournis qui coopèrent de façon à ce que le récipient (3) ne puisse être introduit dans l'atomiseur (1) ou utilisé avec celui-ci que lorsque les moyens de codage (25, 26 ; 27, 30 ; 31, 32) présentent un codage concordant,
    caractérisé en
    ce qu'au moins un moyen de codage (25, 30 ; 31) qui est associé à l'atomiseur (1) est formé par une partie séparée pouvant être montée sur l'atomiseur (1) ou sur un composant de l'atomiseur (1) dans différentes positions définies de façon à ce que, dans chaque position, un codage différent soit obtenu dans lequel les moyens de codage (25, 26 ; 27, 30 ; 31, 32) concordent entre eux ou par lequel le codage de l'atomiseur est réglé et de façon à ce que l'atomiseur (1) puisse être adapté à différents codages à l'aide d'un seul moyen de codage (25, 30 ; 31).
     
    2. Atomiseur selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que l'atomiseur comprend une partie de logement (18) qui est amovible pour l'introduction du récipient (3) et en ce que le moyen de codage (25, 30, 31) associé à l'atomiseur (1) peut être monté sur l'atomiseur (1) dans différentes positions définies et au moins un autre (26, 27, 32) des moyens de codage (26 ; 27, 32) peut être monté sur la partie de logement (18) amovible dans différentes positions définies.
     
    3. Atomiseur selon l'une des revendications précédentes, caractérisé en ce que l'au moins un moyen de codage (26) associé à la partie de logement (18) amovible est configuré pour former une partie de la paroi d'un cylindre creux imaginaire (H), la paroi comportant au moins une rainure librement traversable (260) s'étendant dans le sens de l'axe de symétrie (S) du cylindre creux imaginaire (H).
     
    4. Atomiseur selon la revendication 3, caractérisé en ce que l'au moins un moyen de codage (26) associé à la partie de logement (18) amovible comprend une pluralité de rainures (260, 261), parmi lesquelles une rainure (260) est librement traversable et les autres rainures (261) sont rendues non traversables par des parois transversales (262).
     
    5. Atomiseur selon la revendication 1 ou 2,
    caractérisé en ce que le moyen de codage (30) associé à l'atomiseur (1) peut être amené dans une position dans laquelle il peut librement tourner sur l'atomiseur (1) au moins sur une plage angulaire limitée et, en étant poussé davantage sur l'atomiseur (1), peut être mis dans une position dans laquelle il ne peut plus tourner.
     
    6. Atomiseur selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, caractérisé en ce que le moyen de codage (30) associé à l'atomiseur (1) est en forme de bague ou comprend une portion de raccordement ou bague (302).
     
    7. Atomiseur selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, caractérisé en ce que le moyen de codage (30) associé à l'atomiseur (1) comprend au moins une saillie (301) faisant de préférence saillie radialement et/ou vers l'extérieur.
     
    8. Atomiseur selon la revendication 7, caractérisé en ce que le moyen de codage (30) associé à l'atomiseur (1) comprend une portion de raccordement ou bague (302) et en ce que l'au moins une saillie (301) fait saillie axialement par-dessus la portion de raccordement ou bague.
     
    9. Atomiseur selon la revendication 6 ou 8,
    caractérisé en ce que le moyen de codage (30) associé à l'atomiseur (1) comprend une portion de raccordement ou bague (302) et en ce que la portion de raccordement ou bague (302) comprend un moyen d'engrènement, de préférence des dents intérieures (303), pour le montage ou la fixation du moyen de codage (30) sur l'atomiseur (1) ou la partie intérieure (17).
     
    10. Atomiseur selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, caractérisé en ce que le moyen de codage (30) associé à l'atomiseur (1) est monté ou fixé sur l'atomiseur (1) ou la partie intérieure (17) par encliquetage et/ou complémentarité de forme, en particulier s'engrène avec au moins une dent (303) dans un évidement d'engrènement (304) ou vice versa.
     
    11. Atomiseur selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, caractérisé en ce que le moyen de codage (30) associé à l'atomiseur (1) peut être monté dans différentes positions de rotation sur l'atomiseur (1) ou la partie intérieure (17).
     
    12. Atomiseur selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, caractérisé en ce que l'atomiseur (1) ou la partie intérieure (17) comprend des repères (33) indiquant différentes positions de rotation pour faciliter le réglage du codage lors du montage du moyen de codage (30) sur l'atomiseur (1) ou sa partie intérieure (17).
     
    13. Atomiseur selon la revendication 12,
    caractérisé en ce qu'une saillie (301) ou un indicateur (304) du moyen de codage (30) pointe l'un des repères (33) en fonction de la position de rotation sélectionnée du moyen de codage (30).
     
    14. Atomiseur selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, caractérisé en ce qu'un moyen de codage (30) lui est associé et l'autre moyen de codage (27) est associé à la partie de logement (18), dans lequel le récipient (3) est inséparable de la partie de logement (18).
     
    15. Atomiseur selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, caractérisé en ce que la partie de logement (18) comprend une portion non circulaire et/ou de réception (35) pour un élément de retenue (19) de l'atomiseur (1) et/ou une portion d'engrènement (36), de façon à ce que la partie de logement (18) soit raccordable à l'atomiseur (1) ou sa partie intérieure (17) uniquement dans une position de rotation définie et en ce que la partie de logement (18) est dotée, en outre, du moyen de codage associé (27) ou d'au moins une rainure de préférence librement traversable (270) située dans différentes positions de rotation en fonction du codage de la partie de logement (18) ou du moyen de codage (27).
     
    16. Composant de type logement (18) qui peut être utilisé en tant que composant d'un atomiseur (1) configuré selon l'une des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le composant de type logement (18) comporte au moins un moyen de codage (26, 27, 32) pour identifier clairement un récipient (3) qui peut être fixé au composant de type logement (18), le fluide (2) contenu dans le récipient (3), la concentration en substance active du fluide (2) et/ou la quantité de fluide (2) qui a été ajoutée dans le récipient (3),
    caractérisé en
    ce que le moyen de codage (26, 27, 32) peut être monté, sur ou dans le composant de type logement (18) dans différentes positions définies et de façon à ce que le composant de type logement (18) puisse être adapté à différents codages avec un seul moyen de codage (26, 27, 32).
     




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    Cited references

    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