(19)
(11)EP 2 978 537 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
06.05.2020 Bulletin 2020/19

(21)Application number: 14776070.6

(22)Date of filing:  29.03.2014
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B05B 1/08  (2006.01)
B05B 15/00  (2018.01)
B65D 83/20  (2006.01)
B05B 15/40  (2018.01)
B05B 1/34  (2006.01)
B65D 83/14  (2006.01)
B65D 83/28  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2014/032286
(87)International publication number:
WO 2014/160992 (02.10.2014 Gazette  2014/40)

(54)

CUP-SHAPED NOZZLE ASSEMBLY WITH INTEGRAL FILTER AND ALIGNMENT FEATURES

BECHERFÖRMIGE DÜSENANORDNUNG MIT EINEM INTEGRIERTEN FILTER UND AUSRICHTUNGSFUNKTIONEN

ENSEMBLE DE BUSE EN FORME DE COUPELLE AVEC ÉLÉMENTS DE FILTRE ET D'ALIGNEMENT INTÉGRÉS


(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: 29.03.2013 US 201361806680 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
03.02.2016 Bulletin 2016/05

(73)Proprietor: dlhBowles Inc.
Canton, OH 44706 (US)

(72)Inventors:
  • GOPALAN, Shridhar
    Westminster, MD 21157 (US)
  • HARTRANFT, Evan
    Bowie, MD 20715 (US)
  • RUSSELL, Gregory
    Catonsville, MD 21228 (US)

(74)Representative: Stiel, Jürgen 
Patentanwalt Stiel Geissleite 32
97289 Thüngen
97289 Thüngen (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2011/055036
WO-A1-2012/145537
DE-A1-102006 010 877
US-B2- 7 472 848
WO-A1-2012/145537
WO-A2-2007/101557
US-A- 5 676 311
  
      
    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

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


    Reference to Related Applications:



    [0001] This application claims priority to commonly owned U.S. provisional patent application no. 61/806,680, filed March 29th, 2013 and entitled Cup-shaped nozzle assembly with integral filter Structure. This application is also related to commonly owned U.S. provisional patent application no. 61/476,845, filed April 19th, 2011 and entitled Method and Fluidic Cup apparatus for creating 2-D or 3-D spray patterns, as well as PCT application number PCT/US12/34293, filed April 19, 2012 and entitled Cup-shaped Fluidic Circuit, Nozzle Assembly and Method (WIPO Pub WO 2012/145537), co-pending US application 13/816,661, filed February 12, 2013, and co-pending US application number 13/840981, filed March 15, 2013 and entitled Cup-shaped Fluidic Circuit with Alignment Tabs, Nozzle Assembly and Method.

    Field of the Invention:



    [0002] The present invention relates generally to transportable or disposable liquid or fluid product dispensers and nozzle assemblies adapted for use with liquid or fluid product sprayers, and more particularly to such sprayers having nozzle assemblies configured for dispensing or generating sprays of selected fluids or liquid products in a desired spray pattern.

    Discussion of the Prior Art:



    [0003] Cleaning fluids, hair spray, skin care products and other liquid products are often dispensed from disposable, pressurized or manually actuated sprayers which can generate a roughly conical spray pattern or a straight stream. Some dispensers or sprayers have an orifice cup with a discharge orifice through which product is dispensed or applied by sprayer actuation. For example, the manually actuated sprayer of U.S. Patent 6,793,156 to Dobbs, et al illustrates an improved orifice cup mounted within the discharge passage of a manually actuated hand-held sprayer. The cup is held in place with its cylindrical side wall press fitted within the wall of a circular bore. Dobbs' orifice cup includes "spin mechanics" in the form of a spin chamber and spinning or tangential flows there are formed on the inner surface of the circular base wall of the orifice cup. Upon manual actuation of the sprayer, pressures are developed as the liquid product is forced through a constricted discharge passage and through the spin mechanics before issuing through the discharge orifice in the form of a traditional conical spray. If the liquid product is susceptible to congealing or clogging, the spray is often not consistent and unsatisfactory, especially when first spraying the product, or during "start-up."

    [0004] If no spin mechanics are provided or if the spin mechanics feature is immobilized (e.g., due to product clogging), the liquid issues from the discharge orifice in the form of a stream. Typical orifice cups are molded with a cylindrical skirt wall, and an annular retention bead projects radially outwardly of the side of the cup near the front or distal end thereof. The orifice cup is typically force fitted within a cylindrical bore at the terminal end of a discharge passage in tight frictional engagement between the cylindrical side wall of the cup and the cylindrical bore wall. The annular retention bead is designed to project into the confronting cylindrical portion of the pump sprayer body serving to assist in retaining the orifice cup in place within the bore as well as in acting as a seal between the orifice cup and the bore of the discharge passage. The spin mechanics feature is formed on the inner surface of the base of the orifice cup to provide a swirl cup which functions to swirl the fluid or liquid product and break it up into a substantially conical spray pattern.

    [0005] Manually pumped trigger sprayer of U.S. Patent 5,114,052 to Tiramani, et al illustrates a trigger sprayer having a molded spray cap nozzle with radial slots or grooves which swirl the pressurized liquid to generate an atomized spray from the nozzle's orifice.

    [0006] Other spray heads or nebulizing nozzles used in connection with disposable, manually actuated sprayers are incorporated into propellant pressurized packages including aerosol dispensers such as is described in U.S. Patent 4,036,439 to Green and U.S. Patent 7,926,741 to Laidler et al. All of these spray heads or nozzle assemblies include a swirl system or swirl chamber which work with a dispensing orifice via which the fluid is discharged from the dispenser member. The recesses, grooves or channels defining the swirl system co-operate with the nozzle to entrain the dispensed liquid or fluid in a swirling movement before it is discharged through the dispensing orifice. The swirl system is conventionally made up of one or more tangential swirl grooves, troughs, passages or channels opening out into a swirl chamber accurately centered on the dispensing orifice. The swirled, pressurized fluid is swirled and discharged through the dispensing orifice. U.S. Patent 4,036,439 to Green describes a cup-shaped insert with a discharge orifice which fits over a projection having the grooves defined in the projection, so that the swirl cavity is defined between the projection and the cup-shaped insert. These swirl cavities only work when the liquid product flows evenly, however, and if the liquid product is susceptible to congealing or clogging, the spray is often not consistent and unsatisfactory, especially when first spraying the product, or during "start-up."

    [0007] All of these nozzle assembly or spray-head structures with swirl chambers are configured to generate substantially conical atomized or nebulized sprays of fluid or liquid in a continuous flow over the entire spray pattern, and droplet sizes are poorly controlled, often generating "fines" or nearly atomized droplets. Other spray patterns (e.g., a narrow oval which is nearly linear) are possible, but the control over the spray's pattern is limited. None of these prior art swirl chamber nozzles can generate an oscillating spray of liquid or provide precise sprayed droplet size control or spray pattern control. There are several consumer products packaged in aerosol sprayers and trigger sprayers where it is desirable to provide customized, precise liquid product spray patterns. Other known spray heads are disclosed in WO 2011 /055036 A1, DE 10 2006 010877 A1, WO 2007/101557 A2 and WO 2012/145537 A1.

    [0008] Oscillating fluidic sprays have many advantages over conventional, continuous sprays, and can be configured to generate an oscillating spray of liquid or provide a precise sprayed droplet size control or precisely customized spray pattern for a selected liquid or fluid. The applicants have been approached by liquid product makers who want to provide those advantages, but the prior art fluidic nozzle assemblies have not been configured for incorporation with disposable, manually actuated sprayers.

    [0009] In applicants' durable and precise prior art fluidic circuit nozzle configurations, a fluidic nozzle is constructed by assembling a planar fluidic circuit or insert in to a weatherproof housing having a cavity that receives and aims the fluidic insert and seals the flow passage. A good example of a fluidic oscillator equipped nozzle assembly as used in the automotive industry is illustrated in commonly owned U.S. Patent 7267290 (see, e.g., Fig. 3) which shows how the planar fluidic circuit insert is received within and aimed by the housing.

    [0010] Fluidic circuit generated sprays could be very useful in disposable, manually actuated sprayers, but adapting the fluidic circuits and fluidic circuit nozzle assemblies of the prior art would cause additional engineering and manufacturing process changes to the currently available disposable, manually actuated sprayers, thus making them too expensive to produce at a commercially reasonable cost. If the liquid product is susceptible to congealing or clogging, the prior art fluidic oscillator configurations would also prove unsatisfactory, especially when first spraying the product, or during "start-up."

    [0011] There is a need, therefore, for a commercially reasonable and inexpensive, disposable, manually actuated sprayer or nozzle assembly which overcomes the problems with the prior art, especially for applications where the product is susceptible to congealing or clogging.

    OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



    [0012] Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to overcome the above mentioned difficulties by providing a commercially reasonable inexpensive, disposable, manually actuated cup-shaped nozzle assembly with a filter adapted for use with an optional fluidic circuit which provides the advantages of filtered fluid sprays and controlled spray patterns of a selected liquid or fluid product.

    [0013] In accordance with the present invention, a filtered cup nozzle does not require a multi-component insert and housing assembly. The filtered cup nozzle's features or fluid channel defining geometry are preferably molded directly into a cup-shaped member which is then affixed to a fluid product dispensing package's actuator. This eliminates the need for an assembly made from a fluidic circuit defining insert which is received within a housing cavity. The present invention provides a novel filter cup with, optionally, a fluidic circuit which functions like a planar fluidic circuit but which has the fluidic circuit's oscillation inducing features configured within a cup-shaped member.

    [0014] The filtered cup is useful with both hand-pumped trigger sprayers and propellant filled aerosol sprayers and can be configured to generate different sprays for different liquid or fluid products. A filtered swirl-cup or filtered fluidic cup can be configured to project a desired spray pattern (e.g., a 3-D or rectangular oscillating pattern of uniform droplets). The filtered swirl cup nozzle reliably overcomes the start-up spray clogging problems for liquid products which would otherwise clog the nozzle, and the same clog resistance benefit is provided by the fluidic oscillator equipped cup embodiments. The fluidic oscillator structure's fluid dynamic mechanism for generating the oscillation is conceptually similar to that shown and described in commonly owned US Patents 7267290 and 7478764 (Gopalan et al) which describe a planar mushroom fluidic circuit's operation.

    [0015] In the exemplary embodiments illustrated herein, a mushroom-equivalent fluidic cup oscillator carries an annular retention bead which projects radially outwardly of the side of the cup near the front or distal end thereof. The fluidic cup is typically force fitted within an actuator's cylindrical bore at the terminal end of a discharge passage in tight frictional engagement between the cylindrical side wall of the cup and the cylindrical bore wall of the actuator. The annular retention bead is designed to project into a confronting cylindrical groove or trough retaining portion of the actuator or pump sprayer body serving to assist in retaining the fluidic cup in place within the bore as well as in acting as a seal between the fluidic cup and the bore of the discharge passage. The fluidic oscillator features or geometry are formed on the inner surface(s) of the fluidic cup to provide a fluidic oscillator which functions to generate an oscillating pattern of droplets of uniform, selected size.

    [0016] The novel fluidic circuit of the present invention is a conformal, one-piece, molded fluidic cup. There are several consumer applications like aerosol sprayers and trigger sprayers where it is desirable to customize sprays. Fluidic sprays are very useful in these cases but adapting typical commercial aerosol sprayers and trigger sprayers to accept the standard fluidic oscillator configurations would cause unreasonable product manufacturing process changes to current aerosol sprayers and trigger sprayers thus making them much more expensive. The fluidic cup and method of the present invention conforms to the actuator stem used in typical aerosol sprayers and trigger sprayers and so replaces the prior art "swirl cup" that goes over the actuator stem, and the benefits of using a fluidic oscillator are made available with little or no significant changes to other parts. With the fluidic cup and method of the present invention, vendors of liquid products and fluids sold in commercial aerosol sprayers and trigger sprayers can now provide very specifically tailored or customized sprays.

    [0017] A nozzle assembly or spray head including a lumen or duct for dispensing or spraying a pressurized liquid product or fluid from a valve, pump or actuator assembly draws from a disposable or transportable container to generate an oscillating spray of very uniform fluid droplets. The fluidic cup nozzle assembly includes an actuator body having a distally projecting sealing post having a post peripheral wall terminating at a distal or outer face, and the actuator body includes a fluid passage communicating with the lumen.

    [0018] A cup-shaped fluidic circuit is mounted in the actuator body member having a peripheral wall extending proximally into a bore in the actuator body radially outwardly of said sealing post and having a distal radial wall comprising an inner face opposing the sealing post's distal or outer face to define a fluid channel including a chamber having an interaction region between the body's sealing post and the cup-shaped fluidic circuit's peripheral wall and distal wall. The chamber is in fluid communication with the actuator body's fluid passage to define a fluidic circuit oscillator inlet so the pressurized fluid can enter the fluid channel's chamber and interaction region. The fluidic cup structure has a fluid inlet within the cup's proximally projecting cylindrical sidewall, and the exemplary fluid inlet is substantially annular and of constant cross section, but the fluidic cup's fluid inlet can also be tapered or include step discontinuities (e.g., with an abruptly smaller or stepped inside diameter) to enhance the pressurized fluid's instability.

    [0019] The cup-shaped fluidic circuit distal wall's inner face either supports an insert with or carries the fluidic geometry, so it is configured to define the fluidic oscillator's operating features or geometry within the chamber. It should be emphasized that any fluidic oscillator geometry which defines an interaction region to generate an oscillating spray of fluid droplets can be used, but, for purposes of illustration, conformal cup-shaped fluidic oscillators having two exemplary fluidic oscillator geometries will be described in detail.

    [0020] For a conformal cup-shaped fluidic oscillator embodiment which emulates the fluidic oscillation mechanisms of a planar mushroom fluidic oscillator circuit, the conformal fluidic cup's chamber includes a first power nozzle and second power nozzle, where the first power nozzle is configured to accelerate the movement of passing pressurized fluid flowing through the first nozzle to form a first jet of fluid flowing into the chamber's interaction region, and the second power nozzle is configured to accelerate the movement of passing pressurized fluid flowing through the second nozzle to form a second jet of fluid flowing into the chamber's interaction region. The first and second jets impinge upon one another at a selected inter-jet impingement angle (e.g., 180 degrees, meaning the jets impinge from opposite sides) and generate oscillating flow vortices within the fluid channel's interaction region which is in fluid communication with a discharge orifice or power nozzle defined in the fluidic circuit's distal wall, and the oscillating flow vortices spray droplets through the discharge orifice as an oscillating spray of substantially uniform fluid droplets in a selected (e.g., rectangular) spray pattern having a selected spray width and a selected spray thickness.

    [0021] The first and second power nozzles are preferably venturi-shaped or tapered channels or grooves in the cup-shaped fluidic circuit distal wall's inner face and terminate in a rectangular or box-shaped interaction region defined in the cup-shaped fluidic circuit distal wall's inner face. The interaction region could also be cylindrical, which affects the spray pattern.

    [0022] The cup-shaped fluidic circuit's power nozzles, interaction region and throat can be defined in a disk or pancake shaped insert fitted within the cup, but are preferably molded directly into said cup's interior wall segments. When molded from plastic as a one-piece cup-shaped fluidic circuit, the fluidic cup is easily and economically fitted onto the actuator's sealing post, which typically has a distal or outer face that is substantially flat and fluid impermeable and in flat face sealing engagement with the cup-shaped fluidic circuit distal wall's inner face. The sealing post's peripheral wall and the cup-shaped fluidic circuit's peripheral wall are spaced axially to define an annular fluid channel and the peripheral walls are generally parallel with each other but may be tapered to aid in developing greater fluid velocity and instability.

    [0023] As a fluidic circuit item for sale or shipment to others, the conformal, unitary, one-piece fluidic circuit is configured for easy and economical incorporation into a nozzle assembly or aerosol spray head actuator body including distally projecting sealing post and a lumen for dispensing or spraying a pressurized liquid product or fluid from a disposable or transportable container to generate an oscillating spray of fluid droplets. The fluidic cup includes a cup-shaped fluidic circuit member having a peripheral wall extending proximally and having a distal radial wall comprising an inner face with features defined therein and an open proximal end configured to receive an actuator's sealing post. The cup-shaped member's peripheral wall and distal radial wall have inner surfaces comprising a fluid channel including a chamber when the cup-shaped member is fitted to the actuator body's sealing post and the chamber is configured to define a fluidic circuit oscillator inlet in fluid communication with an interaction region so when the cup-shaped member is fitted to the body's sealing post and pressurized fluid is introduced, (e.g., by pressing the aerosol spray button and releasing the propellant), the pressurized fluid can enter the fluid channel's chamber and interaction region and generate at least one oscillating flow vortex within the fluid channel's interaction region.

    [0024] The cup shaped member's distal wall includes a discharge orifice in fluid communication with the chamber's interaction region, and the chamber is configured so that when the cup-shaped member is fitted to the body's sealing post and pressurized fluid is introduced via the actuator body, the chamber's fluidic oscillator inlet is in fluid communication with a first power nozzle and second power nozzle, and the first power nozzle is configured to accelerate the movement of passing pressurized fluid flowing through the first nozzle to form a first jet of fluid flowing into the chamber's interaction region, and the second power nozzle is configured to accelerate the movement of passing pressurized fluid flowing through the second nozzle to form a second jet of fluid flowing into the chamber's interaction region, and the first and second jets impinge upon one another at a selected inter-jet impingement angle and generate oscillating flow vortices within fluid channel's interaction region. As before, the chamber's interaction region is in fluid communication with the discharge orifice defined in said fluidic circuit's distal wall, and the oscillating flow vortices spray from the discharge orifice as an oscillating spray of substantially uniform fluid droplets in a selected spray pattern having a selected spray width and a selected spray thickness.

    [0025] In the method of the present invention, liquid product manufacturers making or assembling a transportable or disposable pressurized package for spraying or dispensing a liquid product, material or fluid would first obtain or fabricate the conformal fluidic cup circuit for incorporation into a nozzle assembly or aerosol spray head actuator body which typically includes the standard distally projecting sealing post. The actuator body has a lumen for dispensing or spraying a pressurized liquid product or fluid from the disposable or transportable container to generate a spray of fluid droplets, and the conformal fluidic circuit includes the cup-shaped fluidic circuit member having a peripheral wall extending proximally and having a distal radial wall comprising an inner face with features defined therein and an open proximal end configured to receive the actuator's sealing post. The cup-shaped member's peripheral wall and distal radial wall have inner surfaces comprising a fluid channel including a chamber with a fluidic circuit oscillator inlet in fluid communication with an interaction region; and the cup shaped member's peripheral wall preferably has an exterior surface carrying a transversely projecting snap-in locking flange.

    [0026] In the preferred embodiment of the assembly method, the product manufacturer or assembler next provides or obtains an actuator body with the distally projecting sealing post centered within a body segment having a snap-fit groove configured to resiliently receive and retain the cup shaped member's transversely projecting locking flange. The next step is inserting the sealing post into the cup-shaped member's open distal end and engaging the transversely projecting locking flange into the actuator body's snap fit groove to enclose and seal the fluid channel with the chamber and the fluidic circuit oscillator inlet in fluid communication with the interaction region. A test spray can be performed to demonstrate that when pressurized fluid is introduced into the fluid channel, the pressurized fluid enters the chamber and interaction region and generates at least one oscillating flow vortex within the fluid channel's interaction region.

    [0027] In the preferred embodiment of the assembly method, the fabricating step comprises molding the conformal fluidic circuit from a plastic material to provide a conformal, unitary, one-piece cup-shaped fluidic circuit member having the distal radial wall inner face features molded therein so that the cup-shaped member's inner surfaces provide an oscillation-inducing geometry which is molded directly into the cup's interior wall segments.

    [0028] The above and still further objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description of specific embodiments, particularly when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals in the various figures are utilized to designate like components.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0029] 

    Fig. 1A is a cross sectional view in elevation of an aerosol sprayer with a typical valve actuator and swirl cup nozzle assembly, in accordance with the Prior Art.

    Fig. 1B is a plan view of a standard swirl cup as used with aerosol sprayers and trigger sprayers, in accordance with the Prior Art.

    Fig. 2 is a schematic diagram illustrating the typical actuator and nozzle assembly including the standard swirl cup of Figs. 1A and 1B as used with aerosol sprayers, in accordance with the Prior Art.

    Figs. 3A and 3B are photographs illustrating the interior surfaces of a prototype fluidic cup oscillator showing the oscillation-inducing geometry or features of for the selected fluidic oscillator embodiment, in accordance with the present invention.

    Fig. 4 is a cross-sectional diagram illustrating one embodiment of the fluidic cup's distal wall, interior fluidic geometry and exterior surface and power nozzle from the right side, in accordance with the present invention.

    Fig. 5 is another cross-sectional diagram illustrating the embodiment of Fig. 4 from a viewpoint 90 degrees from the view of Fig. 4, illustrating the fluidic cup's distal wall, interior fluidic geometry and exterior surface and power nozzle from above, in accordance with the present invention.

    Fig. 6 is a schematic diagram illustrating the operational principals of an equivalent planar fluidic circuit having the flag mushroom configuration used to generate rectangular 3D sprays and showing the downstream location of the interaction region, between the first and second power nozzles, in accordance with the present invention.

    Fig.7A illustrates a nozzle assembly in an actuator body having a bore with an uncovered distally projecting sealing post, in accordance with the present invention.

    Fig.7B illustrates the actuator body and bore of Fig 7A with a fluidic cup installed over the distally projecting sealing post, in accordance with the present invention.

    Fig. 8 is a diagram illustrating the operational principals of a second equivalent planar fluidic circuit having the mushroom configuration and showing the location of the interaction region between the first and second power nozzles and the downstream location of the throat or exit, in accordance with the present invention.

    Figs. 9A and 9B illustrate a prototype mushroom-equivalent fluidic cup embodiment, Fig 9A shows a front or distal perspective view illustrating the discharge orifice and the annular retention bead and Fig 9B shows installed partial cross section, illustrating the oscillating spray from the discharge orifice and the resilient engagement of the annular retention bead within the actuator's bore, in accordance with the present invention.

    Figs10A-10D are diagrams illustrating a prototype fluidic cup mushroom-equivalent insert having a substantially circular discharge or exit lumen, and showing the two power nozzles and interaction region, in accordance with the present invention.

    Figs11A-11D are diagrams illustrating a prototype fluidic cup assembly using the mushroom-equivalent insert of Figs 10A-10D, in accordance with the present invention.

    Figs12A-12E are diagrams illustrating a one-piece, unitary fluidic cup oscillator configured with integral fluidic oscillator inducing features molded into the cup's interior surfaces, with a substantially circular discharge orifice or exit lumen, and showing the two opposing venturi-shaped power nozzles aimed at the interaction region, in accordance with the present invention.

    Fig. 13 is an exploded perspective view illustrating a hand-operated trigger sprayer configured for use with the one-piece, unitary fluidic cup oscillator of Figs 12A-E or the fluidic cup assembly of Figs 9A-11D, in accordance with the present invention.

    Fig. 14 illustrates an alternative embodiment of the nozzle assembly configured as an aerosol actuator for use with a pressurized container having a distally projecting post with a distal end surface configured with a molded in-situ fluidic geometry and adapted to carry a fluidic nozzle component configured as a cylindrical cup having a substantially open proximal end and a substantially closed distal end wall with a centrally located power nozzle defined therein and covering the post, in accordance with the present invention.

    Fig. 15 illustrates an alternative embodiment of the nozzle assembly configured as an trigger spray actuator having a distally projecting post with a distal end surface configured with a molded in-situ fluidic geometry and adapted to carry a fluidic nozzle component configured as a cylindrical cup having a substantially open proximal end and a substantially closed distal end wall with a centrally located power nozzle defined therein and covering the post, in accordance with the present invention.

    Fig. 16 is a perspective view in elevation illustrating an alternative embodiment of the conformal, cup-shaped fluidic nozzle component configured as a cylindrical cup having a substantially open proximal end and a substantially closed distal end wall with a centrally located power nozzle defined therein and between first and second distally projecting alignment tabs or orientation ribs, in accordance with the present invention.

    Fig. 17 is a side view in elevation illustrating the conformal, cup-shaped fluidic of Fig. 16 and showing the substantially closed distal end wall with the centrally located power nozzle defined therein and between the first and second distally projecting alignment tabs or orientation ribs, in accordance with the present invention.

    Fig. 18 is a center plane cross section view in elevation illustrating the conformal, cup-shaped fluidic of Figs. 16 & 17 and showing the substantially open proximal end and substantially closed distal end wall with the centrally located power nozzle defined therein and between the first and second distally projecting alignment tabs or orientation ribs, in accordance with the present invention.

    Figs 19A and 19B are diagrams illustrating a one-piece, unitary filtered fluidic cup oscillator configured with integral proximally projecting filter post members arrayed around fluidic oscillator inducing features molded into the cup's interior surfaces, with a substantially circular discharge orifice or exit lumen, and showing the two opposing venturi-shaped power nozzles aimed at the interaction region, in accordance with the present invention.

    Figs 20A and 20B are diagrams illustrating a one-piece, unitary filtered swirl cup nozzle member configured with integral proximally projecting filter post members arrayed around fluid swirl inducing features molded into the cup's interior surfaces, with a substantially circular discharge orifice or exit lumen, and showing the four swirl inducing nozzles aimed at a central discharge orifice, in accordance with the present invention.

    Figs 21A and 21B are diagrams illustrating another one-piece, unitary filtered fluidic cup oscillator equipped nozzle member configured with integral proximally projecting filter post members arrayed around fluidic oscillator inducing features molded into the cup's interior surfaces, with a substantially circular discharge orifice or exit lumen, and showing the two opposing venturi-shaped power nozzles aimed at the interaction region, in accordance with the present invention


    DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT



    [0030] Solely the embodiments of Fig. 19A, B and 21A, B fall within the scope of the claims.

    [0031] Figs 1A, 1B and 2 show typical features of aerosol spray actuators and swirl cup nozzles used in the prior art, and these figures are described here to provide added background and context. Referring specifically to Fig 1A, a transportable, disposable propellant pressurized aerosol package 20 has container 26 enclosing a liquid product 50 and an actuator 40 which controls a valve mounted within a valve cup 24 which is affixed within the neck 28 of the container and supported by container flange 22. Actuator 40 is depressed to open the valve and drive pressurized liquid through a spin-cup equipped nozzle 30 to produce an aerosol spray 60. Fig. 1B illustrates the inner workings of an actual spin cup 70 taken from a typical nozzle (e.g., 30) where four lumens 72, 74, 76, 78 are aimed to make four tangential flows enter a spinning chamber 80 where the continuously spinning liquid flows combine and emerge from the central discharge passage 80 as a substantially continuous spray of droplets of varying sizes (e.g., 60), including the "fines" or miniscule droplets of fluid which many users find to be useless.

    [0032] Fig. 2 is a schematic perspective diagram illustrating the typical actuator and nozzle assembly including the standard swirl cup of Figs. 1A and 1B as used with aerosol sprayers, where the solid lines illustrate the outer surfaces of an actuator (e.g., 40) and the phantom or dashed lines show hidden features including the interior surfaces of seal cup 70. Presently, swirl cups (e.g., 70) are fitted on to an actuator (e.g., 40) and used with either manually pumped trigger sprayers or aerosol sprayer (e.g., 20). It is a simple construction that does not require an insert and separate housing. The fluidic cup oscillator of the present invention builds upon this concept illustrated in Figs 1A-2, but replaces the swirl cup's "spin" geometry with a fluidic geometry enabling fluidic sprays instead of a swirl spray. As noted above, swirl sprays are typically round, whereas fluidic sprays are characterized by planar, rectangular or square cross sections with consistent droplet size. Thus, the spray from a nozzle assembly made in accordance with the present invention can be adapted or customized for various applications and still retains the simple and economical construction characteristics of a "swirl" cup.

    [0033] Figs 3A-13 illustrate structural features of exemplary embodiments of the conformal fluidic cup oscillator (e.g., 100, 400, 600 or 700) of present invention and the method of assembling and using the components of the present invention. This invention describes and illustrates conformal, cup-shaped fluidic circuit geometries which emulate applicant's widely appreciated planar fluidic geometry configurations, but which have been engineered to generate the desired oscillating sprays from a conformal configuration such as a fluidic cup. Two exemplary planar fluidic oscillator configurations discussed here are: (1) the flag mushroom circuit (which, in its planar form, is illustrated in Fig 6) and (2) the mushroom circuit (which, in its planar form, is illustrated in Fig 8).

    [0034] Figs 3A - 5 illustrate the flag mushroom circuit equivalent embodiment, as converted in to a fluidic cup. Referring now to Figs 3A and 3B, a prototype fluidic oscillator 100 includes a two channel oscillation-inducing geometry 110 having fluid steering features and is configured as a substantially planar disk having an underside or proximal side 102 opposing a distal side 104 (see Figs 4 and 5). The fluid oscillation-inducing geometry 110 is preferably molded into underside or proximal side 102. In the illustrated embodiment, oscillation-inducing geometry 110 operates within a chamber with an interaction region 120 between a first power nozzle 122 and second power nozzle 124, where first power nozzle 122 is configured to accelerate the movement of passing pressurized fluid flowing through the first nozzle to form a first jet of fluid flowing into the chamber's interaction region 120 , and the second power nozzle 124 is configured to accelerate the movement of passing pressurized fluid flowing through the second nozzle to form a second jet of fluid flowing into the chamber's interaction region 120. The first and second jets collide and impinge upon one another at a selected inter-jet impingement angle (e.g., 180 degrees, meaning the jets impinge from opposite sides) and generate oscillating flow vortices within interaction region 120 which is in fluid communication with a discharge orifice or power nozzle 130 defined in the fluidic circuit's distal side surface 104, and the oscillating flow vortices spray droplets through the discharge orifice as an oscillating spray of substantially uniform fluid droplets in a selected (e.g., rectangular) spray pattern having a selected spray width and a selected spray thickness.

    [0035] Fig 3A illustrates the prototype fluidic oscillator 100 and shows the placement of a planar fluid sealing insert 180 covering part of the two channel oscillation-inducing geometry 110, once affixed to proximal side 102, to force fluid to flow into the wider portions or inlets of the first power nozzle 122 and second power nozzle 124. The fluidic cup 100 and sealing insert 180 illustrated in Figs 3A-5 were molded from plastic materials but could be fabricated from any durable, resilient fluid impermeable material. As best seen in Figs 4 and 5, prototype fluidic oscillator 100 is small and has an outer diameter of 5.638mm and first power nozzle 122 and second power nozzle 124 are defined as grooves or troughs having a selected depth (e.g., 0.018mm) with tapered sidewalls to provide a venturi-like effect. Discharge orifice or power nozzle 130 is an elongated slot-like aperture having flared or angled sidewalls, as best seen in Figs 4 and 5.

    [0036] In the fluidic cup embodiment 100 of Figs 3A-5, applicants have effectively developed a replacement for the four channel swirl cup 70, replacing it with a two-channel fluidic oscillator based on the operating principals of applicant's own planar flag mushroom circuit geometry. This results in a robust, easily variable rectangular spray pattern, with small droplet size. The fluidic circuit of Figs 3A-5 is capable of reliably achieving a generated spray fan angle ranging from 40° to 60° and a spray thickness ranging from 5° to 20°. These spray pattern performance measurements were taken at a flow rate range of 50-90 mLPM at 30 psi. The liquid product flow rate can be adjusted by varying the geometry's groove or trough depth "Pw", shown 0.18mm in the embodiment of Figs 4 & Fig 5. The spray's fan angle is controlled by the Upper Taper in throat or discharge 130, shown as 75° in Fig 4. The spray thickness is controlled by the Lower Taper in the throat 130, shown as 10° in Fig 4. The Upper Taper has been tested at values from 50° to 75°, and the Lower Taper has been tested at values from 0° to 20°. By adjusting these dimensions, fluidic cup 100 can be tailored to spray a wide range of liquid products in either aerosol (e.g., like Fig. 1) or trigger spray (Fig. 13) packages.

    [0037] Turning now to Fig. 6, equivalent planar fluidic circuit 200 has the flag mushroom configuration used to generate rectangular 3D sprays. In the planar form, the fluidic geometry is machined on a "flat chip", which is then inserted in to a rectangular housing slot (not shown) to seal the fluidic passages of geometry 210. There are two power nozzles 222, 224 shown by width "w", that are directly opposed to each other (180 degrees). There is also the interaction region cavity 220 shown at the impingement point. The output of fluidic circuit 200 is a rectangular 3D spray, whose fan and thickness is controlled by varying the floor taper angles of geometry 210. In the new cup-shaped conformal oscillator geometry of the present invention, (e.g., shown in Figs 3A-5), a functionally equivalent fluidic circuit is provided. In the new configuration, Figs 3A-5 shows the power nozzles 122, 124, which are comparable to 222 and 224 (see, truncated at the dashed line in Fig 6). The "front view" in Fig. 6, is comparable to a "top view" in Fig. 3. Thus, the power nozzle width shown by "w" in Fig. 6, is comparable to the circuit feature in Fig. 3, which, for example, is 0.18mm (as shown in Fig. 5). Fig 4, shows placement of sealing insert 180, which is actually part of the actuator (e.g., actuator body or housing 340 as shown in Fig 7A) that seals the power nozzles, (e.g., as best seen in Fig 7A), with a feed area available for the power nozzles. This sealing insert 120 preferably presses against an actuator's sealing post 320 to define a volume that effectively functions much like the interaction region cavity 220 shown in Fig 6. The exhaust, throat or discharge port 230 of the planar fluidic circuit (e.g., 230, the part below the dashed line in Fig 6) is comparable to discharge port 130 in Figs 4 and 5.

    [0038] Turning now to Figs 7A and 7B, actuator body or housing 340 includes a counter-sunk bore 330 with a distally projecting cylindrical sealing post 320 terminating distally in a substantially circular distal sealing surface. A fluidic cup 400 is preferably configured as a one-piece conformal fluidic oscillator and sealably engages sealing post 320 as shown in Fig. 7B. Post 320 in actuator body or housing 340 serves to seal the fluidic circuit so that liquid product or fluid (e.g., like 50) is emitted or sprayed only from discharge port 430 when the user chooses to spray or apply the liquid product. Fluidic cup 400 is essentially flag mushroom circuit equivalent having an output from discharge port 430 in the form of a rectangular 3D spray, and so the spray's fan angle and thickness are controlled by changing the taper angles just as for fluidic cup 100 as illustrated in Fig 4.

    [0039] Another embodiment of the fluidic cup (mushroom cup 600) has been developed to emulate the operating mechanics of the planar mushroom circuit 500 (shown in Fig 8). The flag mushroom cup 100 described above emits a spray comprised of a sheet oscillating in a plane normal to the centerline of the power nozzles 122, 124. The mushroom cup 600 (as best seen in Figs 9A-B and Figs 11A-11D) emits a single moving jet oscillating in space to form a flat fan spray 650 in plane with the power nozzles 622, 624. Figs. 9A and 9B illustrate a mushroom-equivalent fluidic cup 600 (front or distal perspective view) having a cylindrical sidewall terminating distally in a closed distal end wall with a discharge orifice 630. The fluidic cup's cylindrical side wall carries a radially projecting circumferential annular retention bead 694 and Fig 9B shows mushroom-equivalent fluidic cup 600 installed in actuator body 340, within bore 330 (best seen in Fig. 7A) in partial cross section, and illustrating the oscillating spray from discharge orifice 630 and the resilient engagement of the cup member's annular retention bead within actuator bore 330. Referring now to Fig 9B, liquid product or fluid is shown flowing into fluidic cup and into the oscillator's power nozzles to generate the mushroom cup oscillator's spray fan 650 which has a selected fan angle 652 (e.g., 80 degrees) and remains in plane with the power nozzles 622, 624 (best seen in Figs 10A-11D). With the structure of fluidic cup 600, the probability of the spray fan 650 rotating out of a permanently fixed plane relative to the power nozzles 622, 624 is greatly reduced. From the liquid product vendor's perspective, this results in improved reliability. The mushroom cup 600 is also favorable from a manufacturing and injection molding standpoint. The exit orifice through which the fluid is exhausted from the interaction region 620 is a 0.3mm - 0.5 mm diameter through-hole or discharge orifice 630, which can be formed with a simple pin, as an alternative to the complex and difficult to maintain tooling required to form the tapered slot 130 of the flag mushroom cup 100.

    [0040] Referring now to Figs 10A-10D and 11A-11D, the comparison between the planar mushroom fluidic oscillator 500 and mushroom cup oscillator 600 can be examined. The rectangular throat or exit 530 in planar oscillator 500 is reconfigured into a circular 0.25mm exit or discharge port 630 as shown in Figs 10A and 10B. However, one may retain its original rectangular shape as well. The opposing power nozzles 522 and 524 and interaction region 520 are reconfigured as opposing power nozzles 622 and 624 and interaction region 620 in the disc shaped insert 680 for the cup-shaped fluidic 600 illustrated in Figs 10A-11D.

    [0041] Figs 10A-10D and 11A-11D illustrate fluidic cup oscillator 600 and shows the placement of molded disc-shaped insert 680 which includes the two channel oscillation-inducing geometry 610 and is carried within the substantially cylindrical cup member 690, which has an open proximal end 692 and a flanged distal end including an inwardly projecting wall segment 694 having a circular distal opening 696. Once disc-shaped insert 680 is affixed within cup member 690 abutting the flanged wall segment proximate the circular distal opening 696, discharge port 630 is aimed distally. In operation, liquid product or fluid (e.g., 50) introduced into fluidic cup oscillator 600 flow into the wider portions or inlets of the first power nozzle 622 and second power nozzle 624. The fluidic insert disc 680 and cup member 690 are preferably injection molded from plastic materials but could be fabricated from any durable, resilient fluid impermeable material. As shown in Figs 10A-11D, fluidic oscillator 600 is small and has an outer diameter of 4.765mm and first power nozzle 622 and second power nozzle 624 are defined as grooves or troughs having a selected depth (e.g., 0.014mm) with tapered sidewalls narrowing to 0.15mm to provide a venturi-like effect. Discharge orifice or power nozzle 630 is a circular lumen or aperture having substantially straight pin-hole like sidewalls with a diameter of 0.25mm, as best seen in Fig 10A.

    [0042] Turning now to the embodiment illustrated in Figs 12A-12E, the fluidic cup of the present invention is preferably configured as a one-piece injection-molded plastic fluidic cup-shaped conformal nozzle 700 and does not require a multi-component insert and housing assembly. The fluidic oscillator's operative features or geometry 710 are preferably molded directly into the cup's interior surfaces and the cup is configured for easy installation to an actuator body (e.g., 340). This eliminates the need for multi-component fluidic cup assembly made from a fluidic circuit defining insert which is received within a cup-shaped member's cavity (as in the embodiments of Figs 9A-11D). The fluidic cup embodiment 700 illustrated in Figs 12A-12E provides a novel fluidic circuit which functions like a planar fluidic circuit but which has the fluidic circuit's oscillation inducing features and geometry 710 molded in-situ within a cup-shaped member so that one installed on an actuator's fluid impermeable, resilient support member (e.g., such as sealing post 320) a complete and effective fluidic oscillator nozzle is provided.

    [0043] Referring specifically to Figs 12A-12E, a comparison between the planar fluidic oscillator described above and one-piece fluidic cup oscillator 700 can be appreciated. The circular (0.25mm diameter) exit or discharge port 730 is proximal of interaction region 720. The opposing tapered venturi-shaped power nozzles 722 and 724 and interaction region 720 molded in-situ within the interior surface of distal end-wall 780. The molded interior surface of circular, planar or disc-shaped end wall 780 includes grooves or troughs defining the two channel oscillation-inducing geometry 710 and is carried within the substantially cylindrical sidewall segment 790, which has an open proximal end 792 and a closed distal end including a distal surface having substantially centered circular distal port or throat 730 defined therethrough so that discharge port 730 is aimed distally. As best seen in Figs 12C and 12E, one-piece fluidic cup oscillator 700 is optionally configured with first and second parallel opposing substantially planar "wrench-flat" segments 792 defined in cylindrical sidewall segment 790.

    [0044] In operation, liquid product or fluid (e.g., 50) introduced into one-piece fluidic cup oscillator 700 flows into the wider portions or inlets of the first power nozzle 722 and second power nozzle 724. The one-piece fluidic cup oscillator 700 is preferably injection molded from plastic materials but could be fabricated from any durable, resilient fluid impermeable material. As shown in Figs 12A-12E, one-piece fluidic cup oscillator 700 is small and has a small outer diameter (e.g., of 4.765mm) and first power nozzle 722 and second power nozzle 724 are defined as grooves or troughs having a selected depth (e.g., 0.014mm) with tapered sidewalls narrowing to 0.15mm to provide the necessary venturi-like effect. Discharge orifice or power nozzle 630 is a circular lumen or aperture having substantially straight pin-hole like sidewalls with a diameter of approximately 0.25mm, as best seen in Figs 12A-12C.

    [0045] One-piece fluidic cup oscillator 700 can be installed in an actuator like that shown in Fig. 7B, as a replacement for mushroom-equivalent fluidic cup 600, and the benefits of using one-piece fluidic cup oscillator 700 include: (1) no need to change tooling for the liquid product vendor, (2) no need to change the liquid product vendor's manufacturing line, (3) simpler to manage, and (4) the fluidic cup nozzle assemblies can be configured to provide application-optimized fluidic sprays for each of the liquid product vendor's product offerings. The conformal or cup-shaped fluidic oscillator structures and methods of the present invention can be used in various applications ranging from low flow rates (e.g., <50ml/min at 40psi, for pressurized aerosols (e.g., like Fig. 1A , or with manual pump trigger sprays (e.g., 800, as shown in Fig. 13). The conformal fluidic geometry method can also be adapted for use with high flow rate applications (e.g. showerheads, which may be configured as a single fluidic cup that has one or multiple exits).

    [0046] Persons having skill in the art will appreciate that modifications of the illustrated embodiments of the present invention can provide the similar benefits, for example, the interaction region 620 indicated in Fig 10A, can be circular (rather than rectangular). In such cases the oscillation mechanism is different than the mushroom circuit shown in Fig. 8, and results in a three-dimensional spray rather than rectangular or planar sprays produced by examples shown in Figs 8, 9B and 10A-10D. In such a case (with a circular interaction region), the fluidic cup can also be referred to as the 3D mushroom and will generate a 3D spray pattern of very uniform droplets. The conformal or fluidic cup oscillators illustrated herein (e.g., 100, 400, 600 or 700) are readily configured to replace the prior art swirl cups in the traditional aerosol (or trigger sprayer) actuators. Advantages include a wide rectangular or planar spray pattern instead of a narrow non-uniform conical pattern. Fluidic oscillator generated droplets have a size that is generally much more consistent than for standard aerosol sprays while reducing unwanted fines and misting. The structures and methods of the present invention are adaptable to a variety of transportable or disposable cleaning products or devices e.g., carpet cleaners, shower room cleaners, paint sprayers and showerheads.

    [0047] Fig. 13 is an exploded perspective view illustrating a hand-operated trigger sprayer 800 configured for use with any of these fluidic cup configurations (e.g., 100, 400, 600 or 700). Preferably, trigger sprayer 800 is configured with the one-piece, unitary fluidic cup oscillator 700 of Figs 12A-E or the fluidic cup assembly 600 of Figs 9A-11D. The fluidic cup is useful with both hand-pumped trigger sprayers and propellant filled aerosol sprayers and can be configured to generate different sprays for different liquid or fluid products. Fluidic oscillator circuits are shown which can be configured to project a rectangular spray pattern (e.g., a 3D or rectangular oscillating pattern of uniform droplets 850). The fluidic oscillator structure's fluid dynamic mechanism for generating the oscillation is conceptually similar to that shown and described in commonly owned US Patents 7267290 and 7478764 (Gopalan et al) which describe a planar mushroom fluidic circuit's operation. The fluidic cup structure (e.g., 100, 400, 600 or 700) has a fluid inlet defined within the cup's proximally projecting cylindrical sidewall (see Fig 9B), and the exemplary fluid inlet is annular and of constant cross section, but the fluidic cup's fluid inlet can also be tapered or include step discontinuities to enhance pressurized fluid instability.

    [0048] It will be appreciated that the novel fluidic circuit of the present invention (e.g., 100, 400, 600 or 700) is adapted for many conformal configurations. There are several consumer applications such as aerosol sprayers or trigger sprayers (e.g., 800) where it is desirable to customize sprays. Fluidic sprays are very useful in these cases but adapting typical commercial aerosol sprayers and trigger sprayers to accept the standard fluidic oscillator configurations would cause unreasonable product manufacturing process changes to current aerosol sprayers and trigger sprayers thus making them much more expensive.

    [0049] A nozzle assembly or spray head including a lumen or duct for dispensing or spraying a pressurized liquid product or fluid from a valve, pump or actuator assembly (e.g., 340 or 840) draws from a disposable or transportable container to generate an oscillating spray of very uniform fluid droplets. The fluidic cup nozzle assembly includes an actuator body (e.g., 340 or 840) having a distally projecting sealing post (e.g., 320 or 820) having a post peripheral wall terminating at a distal or outer face, and the actuator body includes a fluid passage communicating with the lumen.

    [0050] Cup-shaped fluidic circuit (e.g., 100, 400, 600 or 700) is mounted in the actuator body member having a peripheral wall extending proximally into a bore (e.g., 330 or 830) in the actuator body radially outwardly of the sealing post (e.g., 320 or 820) and having a distal radial wall comprising an inner face opposing the sealing post's distal or outer face to define a fluid channel including a chamber having an interaction region between the body's sealing post (e.g., 320 or 820) and said cup-shaped fluidic circuit's peripheral wall and distal wall; the chamber is in fluid communication with the actuator body's fluid passage to define a fluidic circuit oscillator inlet so the pressurized fluid can enter the fluid channel's chamber and interaction region (e.g., 120, 620 or 720). The cup-shaped fluidic circuit distal wall's inner face carries the fluidic geometry (e.g., 110, 610 or 710), so it is configured to define within the chamber a first power nozzle and second power nozzle, where the first power nozzle is configured to accelerate the movement of passing pressurized fluid flowing through the first nozzle to form a first jet of fluid flowing into the chamber's interaction region (e.g., 120, 620 or 720), and the second power nozzle is configured to accelerate the movement of passing pressurized fluid flowing through the second nozzle to form a second jet of fluid flowing into the chamber's interaction region (e.g., 120, 620 or 720). The first and second jets impinge upon one another at a selected inter-jet impingement angle (e.g., 180 degrees, meaning the jets impinge from opposite sides) and generate oscillating flow vortices within the fluid channel's interaction region (e.g., 120, 620 or 720) which is in fluid communication with a discharge orifice or power nozzle (e.g., 130, 630 or 730) defined in the fluidic cup's distal wall, and the oscillating flow vortices spray droplets through the discharge orifice (e.g., 130, 630 or 730) as an oscillating spray of substantially uniform fluid droplets in a selected (e.g., rectangular) spray pattern having a selected spray width and a selected spray thickness, as shown in Figs 9B and 13).

    [0051] The first and second power nozzles are preferably venturi-shaped or tapered channels or grooves in the cup-shaped fluidic circuit distal wall's inner face and terminate in a rectangular or box-shaped interaction region (e.g., 120, 620 or 720) carried by or defined in the cup-shaped fluidic circuit distal wall's inner face. The interaction region could also be cylindrical, which affects the spray pattern.

    [0052] The cup-shaped fluidic circuit's power nozzles, interaction region and throat can be defined in a disk or pancake shaped insert fitted within the cup (e.g., 100 400 or 600), but are preferably molded directly into interior wall segments in situ to provide one-piece fluidic cup oscillator 700. When molded from plastic as a one-piece cup-shaped fluidic circuit 700, the fluidic cup is easily and economically fitted onto the actuator's sealing post (e.g., 320), which typically has a distal or outer face that is substantially flat and fluid impermeable and in flat face sealing engagement with the cup-shaped fluidic circuit distal wall's inner face. The sealing post's peripheral wall and the cup-shaped fluidic circuit's peripheral wall (e.g., 690 or 790) are spaced axially to define an annular fluid channel and (as shown in Fig 9B) the peripheral walls are generally parallel with each other but may be tapered to aid in developing greater fluid velocity and instability.

    [0053] As a fluidic circuit item for sale or shipment to others, the conformal, unitary, one-piece fluidic circuit 700 is configured for easy and economical incorporation into a nozzle assembly or aerosol spray head actuator body including distally projecting sealing post (e.g., 320) and a lumen for dispensing or spraying a pressurized liquid product or fluid from a disposable or transportable container to generate an oscillating spray of fluid droplets. The fluidic cup (e.g., 100, 400, 600 or 700) includes a cup-shaped fluidic circuit member having a peripheral wall extending proximally and having a distal radial wall comprising an inner face with fluid constraining operative features or a fluidic geometry (e.g., 110, 610 or 710) defined therein and an open proximal end (e.g., 692 or 792) configured to receive an actuator's sealing post (e.g., 320). The cup-shaped member's peripheral wall and distal radial wall have inner surfaces comprising a fluid channel including a chamber when the cup-shaped member is fitted to the actuator body's sealing post and the chamber is configured to define a fluidic circuit oscillator inlet in fluid communication with an interaction region so when the cup-shaped member is fitted to the body's sealing post and pressurized fluid is introduced, (e.g., by pressing the aerosol spray button and releasing the propellant), the pressurized fluid can enter the fluid channel's chamber and interaction region and generate at least one oscillating flow vortex within the fluid channel's interaction region (e.g., 120, 620 or 720).

    [0054] The cup shaped member's distal wall includes a discharge orifice (e.g., 130, 630 or 730) in fluid communication with the chamber's interaction region, and the chamber is configured so that when the cup-shaped member (e.g., 100, 400, 600 or 700) is fitted to the body's sealing post and pressurized fluid is introduced via the actuator body, the chamber's fluidic oscillator inlet is in fluid communication with a first power nozzle and second power nozzle, and the first power nozzle is configured to accelerate the movement of passing pressurized fluid flowing through the first nozzle to form a first jet of fluid flowing into the chamber's interaction region, and the second power nozzle is configured to accelerate the movement of passing pressurized fluid flowing through the second nozzle to form a second jet of fluid flowing into the chamber's interaction region, and the first and second jets impinge upon one another at a selected inter-jet impingement angle and generate oscillating flow vortices within fluid channel's interaction region. As before, the chamber's interaction region (e.g., 120, 620 or 720) is in fluid communication with the discharge orifice (e.g., 130, 630 or 730) carried by or defined in said fluidic circuit's distal wall, and the oscillating flow vortices spray from the discharge orifice as an oscillating spray of substantially uniform fluid droplets in a selected spray pattern having a selected spray width and a selected spray thickness.

    [0055] In the method of the present invention, liquid product manufacturers making or assembling a transportable or disposable pressurized package for spraying or dispensing a liquid product, material or fluid would first obtain or fabricate the conformal fluidic cup circuit (e.g., 100, 400, 600 or 700) for incorporation into a nozzle assembly or aerosol spray head actuator body which typically includes the standard distally projecting sealing post (e.g., 320). The actuator body has a lumen for dispensing or spraying a pressurized liquid product or fluid from the disposable or transportable container to generate a spray of fluid droplets, and the conformal fluidic circuit includes the cup-shaped fluidic circuit member having a peripheral wall extending proximally and having a distal radial wall comprising an inner face with features defined therein and an open proximal end configured to receive the actuator's sealing post. The cup-shaped member's peripheral wall and distal radial wall have inner surfaces comprising a fluid channel including a chamber with a fluidic circuit oscillator inlet in fluid communication with an interaction region; and the cup shaped member's peripheral wall preferably has an exterior surface carrying a transversely projecting snap-in locking flange.

    [0056] In the preferred embodiment of the assembly method, the product manufacturer or assembler next provides or obtains an actuator body (e.g., 340) with the distally projecting sealing post centered within a body segment having a snap-fit groove configured to resiliently receive and retain the cup shaped member's transversely projecting locking flange (e.g., 694 or 794). The next step is inserting the sealing post into the cup-shaped member's open distal end (e.g., 692 or 792) and engaging the transversely projecting locking flange into the actuator body's snap fit groove to enclose and seal the fluid channel with the chamber and the fluidic circuit oscillator inlet in fluid communication with the interaction region (e.g., 120, 620 or 720). A test spray can be performed to demonstrate that when pressurized fluid is introduced into the fluid channel, the pressurized fluid enters the chamber and interaction region and generates at least one oscillating flow vortex within the fluid channel's interaction region.

    [0057] In the preferred embodiment of the assembly method, the fabricating step comprises molding the conformal fluidic circuit from a plastic material to provide a conformal, unitary, one-piece cup-shaped fluidic circuit member 700 having the distal radial wall inner face features or geometry 710 molded therein so that the cup-shaped member's inner surfaces provide an oscillation-inducing geometry which is molded directly into the cup's interior wall segments.

    [0058] It will be appreciated that the conformal fluidic cup (e.g., 100, 400, 600 or 700) and method of the present invention readily conforms to the industry-standard actuator stem used in typical aerosol sprayers and trigger sprayers and so replaces the prior art "swirl cup" that goes over the actuator stem (e.g., 320), and the benefits of using a fluidic oscillator (e.g., 100, 400, 600 or 700) are made available with little or no significant changes to other parts of the industry standard liquid product packaging. With the fluidic cup and method of the present invention, vendors of liquid products and fluids sold in commercial aerosol sprayers and trigger sprayers can now provide very specifically tailored or customized sprays.

    [0059] The term "conformal" as used here, means that the fluidic oscillator is engineered to engage and "conform" to the exterior configuration of the dispensing package or applicator, where the conformal fluidic circuit (e.g., 100, 400, 600 or 700) has an "interior" and an "exterior" with a throat or discharge lumen (e.g., 130, 630 or 730) in fluid communication between the two, and where the conformal fluidic's interior surface carries or has defined therein a fluidic oscillator geometry (e.g., 110, 610 or 710) which operates on fluid passing therethrough to generate an oscillating spray of fluid droplets having a controlled, selected size, where the spray has a selected rectangular or 3D pattern (e.g., 850, as best seen in Fig 13).

    [0060] Turning now to the nozzle assembly embodiment illustrated in Fig. 14, nozzle assembly 900 is configured as an aerosol actuator for use with a pressurized container adapted to spray a fluid product such as sun screen in a selected spray pattern. Nozzle assembly 900 has a transversely aligned, distally projecting post 902 with a distal end surface 904 configured with a molded in-situ fluidic geometry 920, 922, 924 defined therein. Fluidic post 902 projects transversely within annular bore 330 and is adapted to sealably engage and carry a fluidic nozzle component configured as a cylindrical cup 990 having a substantially open proximal end and a substantially closed distal end wall with a centrally located power nozzle 930 defined therein and covering the post 902. Functionally, nozzle assembly 900 is similar to the nozzle assembly embodiments described above and in Figs 9A-12, where a fluidic cup (e.g., 700) seals against a "blank" post 320. Nozzle assembly 900 differs from those embodiments because distal end surface 904 has conformal fluidic geometry molded therein, and that fluidic geometry includes a substantially rectangular central interaction chamber 920 which is in fluid communication with a first venturi-shaped power nozzle 922 which passes pressurized fluid product from annular lumen 330 into interaction chamber 920 along a first power nozzle axis. Interaction chamber 920 is also in fluid communication with a second venturi-shaped power nozzle 924 which passes pressurized fluid product from annular lumen 330 into interaction chamber 920 along second power nozzle axis which is preferably aligned with the axis of first power nozzle 922, to create colliding flows of pressurized fluid in interaction chamber 920. The first and second power nozzles 922, 924 are preferably venturi-shaped or tapered channels or grooves in the post's distal end surface 904 (as shown), but may also be configured as straight-walled lumens configured to pass pressurized fluid product from annular lumen 330 into interaction chamber 920 along axes which intersect in interaction chamber 920. Conformal fluidic circuit 900 provides a selected inter-jet impingement angle of 180 degrees and chamber 920 is configured so that when said cup-shaped member is fitted to the body's sealing post and pressurized fluid is introduced via said actuator body, oscillating flow vortices are generated within interaction chamber 920 by opposing jets of fluid first and second power nozzles 922, 924.

    [0061] Nozzle assembly 900 may also be configured to emulate the operating mechanics of the planar mushroom circuit 500 (shown in Fig 8). The fluidic post nozzle assembly 900 is configurable to emit a spray comprised of a sheet oscillating in a plane normal to the centerline of the power nozzles 922, 924 or emit a single moving jet oscillating in space to form a flat fan spray (e.g., like spray 650) in plane with the power nozzles 922, 924. Cup member 990 has a cylindrical sidewall terminating distally in a closed distal end wall with discharge orifice 930 and the cylindrical side wall carries a radially projecting circumferential annular retention bead 994 which is snap fit into sealing engagement with the actuator body within bore 330 to provide resilient engagement of the cup member's annular retention bead 994 within actuator bore 330. The mushroom cup exit orifice through which the fluid is exhausted from the interaction region 920 is preferably a 0.3mm - 0.5 mm diameter through-hole or discharge orifice 930, which can be formed with a simple pin, as above.

    [0062] Fig. 15 illustrates another nozzle assembly 1000 configured as a trigger spray actuator having a transversely aligned, distally projecting post 1002 with a distal end surface 1004 configured with a molded in-situ fluidic geometry 1020, 1022, 1024 defined therein. Fluidic post 1002 projects transversely from the spray actuator body and is adapted to sealably engage and carry a fluidic nozzle component configured as a cylindrical cup or cap 1090 having a substantially open proximal end and a substantially closed distal end wall with a centrally located power nozzle 1030 defined therein and covering the post 1002. Functionally, nozzle assembly 1000 is similar to the nozzle assembly embodiments described above and in Fig 13, where a fluidic cup (e.g., 700) seals against a "blank" post 820. Nozzle assembly 1000 differs from the embodiment of Fig. 13 because distal end surface 1004 has conformal fluidic geometry molded therein, and that fluidic geometry includes a substantially rectangular central interaction chamber 1020 which is in fluid communication with a first venturi-shaped power nozzle 1022 which passes pressurized fluid product from annular lumen 830 into interaction chamber 1020 along a first power nozzle axis. Interaction chamber 1020 is also in fluid communication with a second venturi-shaped power nozzle 1024 which passes pressurized fluid product from annular lumen 830 into interaction chamber 1020 along second power nozzle axis which is preferably aligned with the axis of first power nozzle 1022, to create colliding flows of pressurized fluid in interaction chamber 1020. The first and second Power nozzles 1022, 1024 are preferably venturi-shaped or tapered channels or grooves in the post's distal end surface 1004 (as shown), but may also be configured as straight-walled lumens configured to pass pressurized fluid product from annular lumen 830 into interaction chamber 1020 along axes which intersect in interaction chamber 1020. Conformal fluidic circuit 1000 also provides a selected inter-jet impingement angle of 180 degrees and chamber 1020 is configured so that when said cup-shaped member is fitted to the body's sealing post and pressurized fluid is introduced via said actuator body, oscillating flow vortices are generated within interaction chamber 1020 by opposing jets of fluid first and second power nozzles 1022, 1024.

    [0063] Nozzle assembly 1000 may also be configured to emulate the operating mechanics of the planar mushroom circuit 500 (shown in Fig 8). The fluidic post nozzle assembly 1000 is configurable to emit a spray comprised of a sheet oscillating in a plane normal to the centerline of the power nozzles 1022, 1024 or emit a single moving jet oscillating in space to form a flat fan spray (e.g., like spray 650) in plane with the power nozzles 1022, 1024. The exit orifice 1030 through which the fluid is exhausted from the interaction region 1020 is preferably a 0.3mm - 0.5 mm diameter through-hole or discharge orifice 1030, which can be formed with a simple pin, as above.

    [0064] Turning now to the embodiments illustrated in Figs 16-18, an alternative embodiment of the conformal, fluidic cup 1100 is configured as a substantially cylindrical unitary, one piece cup-shaped component having a substantially open proximal end and a substantially closed distal end wall 1180 with a centrally located power nozzle 1130 defined therein and between spaced apart, parallel first and second distally projecting alignment tabs or wall segments.

    [0065] Fig. 16 is a perspective view in elevation illustrating an alternative embodiment of the conformal, cup-shaped fluidic nozzle component 1100 and Fig. 17 is a side view in elevation showing the closed distal end wall 1180 with the centrally located power nozzle 1130 defined therein and between the first and second distally projecting alignment tabs or orientation ribs 1150, 1152. Fig. 18 is a center plane cross section view of the conformal, cup-shaped fluidic cup 1100 showing the substantially open proximal end and substantially closed distal end wall 1180 with the centrally located power nozzle 1130 defined between the first distally projecting orientation rib 1150 and second distally projecting orientation rib 1152.

    [0066] Ribbed conformal fluidic cup 1100 is preferably configured as a one-piece injection-molded plastic fluidic cup-shaped conformal nozzle component and does not require a multi-component insert and housing assembly. The fluidic oscillator's operative features or geometry 1110 are preferably molded directly into the cup's interior surfaces and the cup is configured for easy installation to an actuator body (e.g., 340). This eliminates the need for multi-component fluidic cup assembly made from a fluidic circuit defining insert which is received within a cup-shaped member's cavity (as in the embodiments of Figs 9A-11D). The fluidic cup embodiment 1100 illustrated in Figs 16-18 provides a novel fluidic circuit which functions like a planar fluidic circuit but which has the fluidic circuit's oscillation inducing features and geometry 110 molded in-situ within a cup-shaped member so that one installed on an actuator's fluid impermeable, resilient support member (e.g., such as sealing post 320) a complete and effective fluidic oscillator nozzle is provided.

    [0067] A comparison between the planar fluidic oscillator described above and one-piece fluidic cup oscillator 1100 is useful to illustrate operating principles. The circular (0.25mm diameter) exit or discharge port 1130 is proximal of interaction region 1120. The interaction region 1120 and opposing tapered venturi-shaped power nozzles resemble those of fluidic cup 700 (i.e., 720, 722 and 724 as seen in Figs 12A and 12C) and are molded in-situ within the interior surface of distal end-wall 1180. The molded interior surface of circular, planar or disc-shaped end wall 1180 includes grooves or troughs defining the two channel oscillation-inducing geometry 1110 and is carried within the substantially cylindrical sidewall segment 1190, which has an open proximal end 1192 opposing closed distal end including a distal surface having distal port or throat 1130 defined therethrough so that discharge port 1130 is aimed distally. As best seen in Figs 12C and 12E, one-piece fluidic cup oscillator 700 is optionally configured with an annular ring projection 1194 carried on cylindrical sidewall 1190.

    [0068] In operation, liquid product or fluid (e.g., 50) is introduced into one-piece fluidic cup oscillator 1100 and flows into the wider portions or inlets of the first power nozzle and second power nozzle to collide within the interaction chamber of conformal fluidic 1110. The one-piece fluidic cup oscillator 1100 is preferably injection molded from plastic materials but could be fabricated from any durable, resilient fluid impermeable material. One-piece fluidic cup oscillator 1100 is small and has a small outer diameter (e.g., of 4.765mm) and the features of fluidic geometry 1110 are defined as grooves or troughs having a selected depth (e.g., 0.014mm) with tapered sidewalls narrowing to 0.15mm to provide the necessary venturi-like effect. Discharge orifice or power nozzle 1130 is a circular lumen or aperture having substantially straight pin-hole like sidewalls with a diameter of approximately 0.25mm.

    [0069] One-piece ribbed fluidic cup 1100 can be installed in an actuator like that shown in Fig. 7B, as a replacement for mushroom-equivalent fluidic cup 600, and the benefits of using one-piece fluidic cup oscillator 1100 include: (1) no need to change tooling for the liquid product vendor, (2) no need to change the liquid product vendor's manufacturing line, (3) simpler to manage, and (4) the fluidic cup nozzle assemblies can be configured to provide application-optimized fluidic sprays for each of the liquid product vendor's product offerings. The conformal or cup-shaped fluidic oscillator structures and methods of the present invention can be used in various applications ranging from low flow rates (e.g., <50ml/min at 40psi, for pressurized aerosols (e.g., like Fig. 1A , or with manual pump trigger sprays (e.g., 800, as shown in Fig. 13). The conformal fluidic geometry method can also be adapted for use with high flow rate applications (e.g. showerheads, which may be configured as a single fluidic cup that has one or multiple exits).

    [0070] It will be appreciated that the ribbed fluidic cup embodiment of Figs 16-18 will be advantageous for use in aerosol can & trigger spray applications, where it is desirable to efficiently apply a uniform coat of fluid product onto a surface. A rectangular spray pattern (e.g., 850) is favorable to a circular or conical spray pattern in this regard. Additionally, it is favorable for the nozzle to form droplets large enough they do not bounce off the target surface (e.g., having droplet Volume Median Diameter or VMD > 0.10mm). Therefore, the nozzle assembly of the present invention is able to apply a uniform coat of fluid onto a surface with greater efficiency than a standard swirl nozzle cup. For purposes of nomenclature, VMD is a value where 50% of the total volume of liquid sprayed is made up of drops with diameters larger than the median value and 50% smaller than the median value. In accordance with the present invention, droplet size is a function of pressure, viscosity, & power nozzle area. Applicants have observed a correlation between droplet size and fluid flow rate. That is, for a given fluid, nozzle assemblies having lower flow cups produce smaller droplets than nozzle assemblies having higher flow cups. Flow rate is controlled by the size of the power nozzle area "PA" where Pw* Pd = PA. For the embodiment of Figs 14-18, Pw = 0.100 - 0.150mm; Pd = 0.150-0.200mm. Droplet size is also affected by fluid characteristics. Fluid characteristics vary with the Product, and using sun screen as an example, the fluid characteristics vary by product line & SPF. In sunscreen products, a typical solvent is denatured alcohol, which has a typical density of 789 kg/m3. The proportion of denatured alcohol in the products of interest ranges from 53.2% to 81.6%. As SPF increases, the proportion or percentage of denatured alcohol in the product decreases, and as a result viscosity & droplet size increase. As SPF increases, VMD typically varies in the range from 0.12 to 0.35mm (for a full and completely pressurized new can). In aerosol packages of interest, the fluid product is sprayed via bag on valve aerosol assembly with no intermixed propellants. As a result, the nozzle pressure decreases from 120 psi to 40 psi as the product is dispensed and the can is emptied. As pressure decreases, droplet size increases.

    [0071] For a desired spray which is rectangular (e.g., 850), the spray pattern must be oriented so that the consumer obtains a satisfactory result when spraying the product, and spray orientation is a function of nozzle assembly. A rectangle naturally comprises a major & minor axis, it is desirable to orient the spray pattern (e.g. 850) relative to the actuator, housing, aerosol can, or trigger sprayer. Desired orientation of spray is typically horizontal or vertical. When assembling the fluidic cup 1100 in a large scale mass production environment, an external feature is required to index and assemble the cup 1100 a desired angular orientation relative to the actuator (e.g., 340) the cup is being inserted into. Alignment features tested include parallel flat surfaces on either side of the otherwise round side walls of the cup (e.g., as shown in Figs 12C and 12D), a groove in the front face of the cup, and the preferred embodiment, the pair of ribs 1150, 1152 protruding downstream from the front face 1180 of the cup 1100. The ribs 1150, 1152 are placed on top and bottom of the plane established by the fan angle of the spray. Ribs 1150, 1152 have drafted walls and are spaced apart at adequate distance (e.g., 1mm) from the centerline of discharge orifice 1130 to avoid contact with the spray.

    [0072] In the illustrated embodiment, the cup-shaped fluidic nozzle component's alignment tabs 1150, 1152 are configured to engage an installation socket or end effector which configured to couple with and support the cup-shaped member 1100. The preferred embodiment illustrated in Figs 16-18 provided the most reliable feature for bowl fed robotic high speed assembly equipment to index and assemble a complete nozzle assembly with fluidic cup 1100, while not disturbing the spray after passing through the exit hole 1130. The spaced, parallel distally projecting wall segments are spaced apart about the power nozzle opening and the inter-wall spacing (e.g., approximately 22.14mm) and wall height (or distal projection length, approx.. 0.75mm) are selected with the Rib Draft Angle (1 degree) to avoid interfering with the desired spray's edges. For the embodiment illustrated in Figs 17 and 18, the plane of the spray's fan angle is perpendicular to the page. These dimensions are critical to reliably manufacture the ribs and to avoid the spray attaching to the ribs. Product fluid spray attachment to ribs or alignment tabs 1150, 1152 is undesirable because the fluid begins to entrain air, and droplet size is increased.

    [0073] In the illustrated embodiment, the cup-shaped fluidic nozzle component's alignment tabs 1150, 1152 provide rotational alignment features which can be engaged with an installation socket or end effector configured to couple with, support and rotate the cup-shaped member 1100. Alternative configurations of distal wall features could be defined in or around the distal end wall's outer or distal surface to work with a cooperating end effector or tool. For example, a plurality of blind bores or holes (not shown) could be defined within the cup's distal wall surface and configured to receive a spanner end effector with first and second pin members dimensioned to be received within said cup's distal blind bores or holes. Alternatively, the central region of said cup's distal wall could project distally to define a central distal projection (not shown) so that power nozzle 1130 is defined in the central distal projection, and an end effector configured to receive the cup's central distal projection would then be provided for alignment and installation of the cup member on the nozzle's sealing post.

    [0074] The end effector (not shown) is configured to align the cup 1100 by rotating it before or after placement over the sealing post by rotating the cup about the cup's central axis which is co-axial with the sealing post's central axis, to provide a selected angular orientation for the cup and the resulting spray (e.g., 650 or 850).

    [0075] In use, the conformal, cup-shaped fluidic nozzle component's alignment tabs 1150, 1152 are engaged with an installation socket or end effector which configured to engage, support and orient or rotate said cup-shaped member on the nozzle assembly's sealing post. The end effector is configured to automatically align the cup by rotating it before or after placement over the sealing post by rotating the cup about the cup's central axis which is co-axial with the sealing post's central axis, to provide a selected angular orientation (e.g., vertical, with the spray's major axis aligned vertically and parallel to the product packages major axis) for the cup and the resulting spray.

    [0076] In the preferred embodiment of the assembly method, the product manufacturer or assembler provides or obtains an actuator body (e.g., 340) with the distally projecting sealing post centered within a body segment having a snap-fit groove configured to resiliently receive and retain the cup shaped member's transversely projecting locking flange 1194. The cup 1100 is engaged within an end effector (not shown) and automatically aligned using the conformal, cup-shaped fluidic nozzle component's alignment tabs or orientation ribs 1150, 1152 are supported and oriented or rotated to align cup 1100 on the nozzle assembly's sealing post. The end effector is configured to automatically align the cup by rotating it before or after placement over the sealing post by rotating the cup about the cup's central axis which is co-axial with the sealing post's central axis, to provide a selected angular orientation (e.g., vertical, with the spray's major axis aligned vertically and parallel to the product packages major axis) for the cup and the resulting spray. The next step is inserting the sealing post into the cup-shaped member's open distal end 1192 and engaging the transversely projecting locking flange 1192 into the actuator body's snap fit groove to enclose and seal the fluid channel with the chamber and the fluidic circuit oscillator inlet in fluid communication with the fluidic's interaction chamber 1110. A test spray can be performed to demonstrate that when pressurized fluid is introduced into the nozzle assembly, the pressurized fluid enters the fluidic's interaction chamber 1110 and generates at least one oscillating flow vortex which is aligned to provide a desired spray (e.g., 650 or 850).

    [0077] Turning now to the "filter cup" embodiments of Figs 19A-21B, Figs 19A and 19B are diagrams illustrating a one-piece, unitary filtered fluidic cup oscillator nozzle member 1200 configured with a plurality of (e.g., twelve) integral proximally projecting filter post members (1240A-1240L) which are spaced apart and arrayed around fluidic oscillator inducing features 1220, 1222, 1224 molded into the cup's interior surfaces, with a substantially circular discharge orifice or exit lumen 1230, where the two opposing venturi-shaped power nozzles 1222, 1224 are aimed at the interaction region 1220. The spaced proximally projecting filter post members (1240A-1240L) define a filtering region with lumens or filter openings 1250 therebetween so that pressurized fluid flowing into the nozzle assembly flows between the filter post members via inter-post filtering lumens 1250 and into a ring shaped volume 1252 which is in fluid communication with fluid oscillation inducing features 1220, 1222, 1224 and discharge orifice 1230 so that filtered fluid flows and the nozzle sprays without adverse effects caused by fluid product clogs.

    [0078] Filtered fluidic cup 1200 is preferably configured as a one-piece injection-molded plastic fluidic cup-shaped conformal nozzle and does not require a multi-component insert and housing assembly. The fluidic oscillator's operative features or geometry 1210 are preferably molded directly into the cup's interior surfaces and the cup is configured for easy installation to an actuator body (e.g., 340). This eliminates the need for multi-component fluidic cup assembly made from a fluidic circuit defining insert which is received within a cup-shaped member's cavity (as in the embodiments of Figs 9A-11D). The filtered fluidic cup embodiment illustrated in Figs 19A and 19B provide a novel filtered fluidic circuit which functions like a planar fluidic circuit but which has the fluidic circuit's oscillation inducing features and geometry 1210 molded in-situ within a cup-shaped member so that once installed on an actuator's fluid impermeable, resilient support member (e.g., such as sealing post 320) a sealed conduit is created and a complete and effective fluidic oscillator nozzle is provided. The circular (0.25mm diameter) exit or discharge port 1230 is in fluid communication and receives fluid from interaction region 1220. The opposing tapered venturi-shaped power nozzles 1222 and 1224 and interaction region 1220 are preferably molded in-situ within the interior surface of distal end-wall 1280. The molded interior surface of circular, planar or disc-shaped end wall 1280 includes grooves or troughs defining the two channel oscillation-inducing geometry 1210 and is carried within the substantially cylindrical sidewall segment 1290, which has an open proximal end 1292 and a closed distal end including a distal surface having substantially centered circular distal port or throat 1230 defined therethrough so that discharge port 1230 is aimed distally. One-piece filtered fluidic nozzle member 1200 is optionally configured with first and second parallel opposing substantially planar "wrench-flat" segments (not shown) defined in cylindrical sidewall segment 1290.

    [0079] It will be appreciated by those with skill in the art that filtered fluidic cup member 1200 includes a new filtering feature integrally molded within the fluidic cup structure. This filtering feature can be configured as a ring of inwardly and proximally projecting filter posts that force liquid product through interstitial filter openings 1250 and filter out coagulated or congealed product, larger particles etc. ("solids") and prevent those solids from clogging the fluidic channels. The cup configuration defines an inner ring-shaped volume which receives the filtered liquid and feeds the fluidic channels. Thus multiple filter openings 1250 are available and liquid product flow will not be interrupted even if some of the filter openings become temporarily clogged. In the example illustrated figs 19A and 19B twelve radially arrayed and equal area filter openings are defined between the filter post members and so even with a few openings clogged, the others remain available and in continuous fluid communication with the discharge orifice 1230.

    [0080] Turning now to Figs 20A and 20B, a one-piece, unitary filtered swirl cup nozzle member 1300 is configured with integral proximally projecting filter post members arrayed around fluid swirl inducing features molded into the cup's interior surfaces, with a substantially circular discharge orifice or exit lumen, where a plurality (e.g. four) swirl inducing nozzles 1372, 1374, 1376, 1378 are in fluid communication with and aim filtered, pressurized at central discharge orifice 1380. The spaced proximally projecting filter post members (1340A-1340L) define a filtering region with lumens or filter openings 1350 therebetween so that pressurized fluid flowing into the nozzle assembly flows between the filter post members via inter-post filtering lumens 1350 and into a ring shaped volume 1352 which is in fluid communication with fluid swirl inducing features 1372, 1374, 1376, 1378 and discharge orifice 1330 so that filtered fluid flows and the nozzle sprays without adverse effects caused by fluid product clogs.

    [0081] Filtered swirl cup 1300 is preferably configured as a one-piece injection-molded plastic fluidic cup-shaped conformal nozzle and does not require a multi-component insert and housing assembly. The filtered swirl cup's operative features or geometry 1310 are preferably molded directly into the cup's interior surfaces and the cup is configured for easy installation to an actuator body (e.g., 340). This eliminates the need for multi-component filter and swirl cup assembly made from inserts received within a cup-shaped member's cavity. The filtered swirl cup embodiment illustrated in Figs 20A and 20B provide a novel filtered swirl cup nozzle which has the filtering structural features (1340A-1340L) and the swirl inducing geometry 1310 molded in-situ within a cup-shaped member so that once installed on an actuator's fluid impermeable, resilient support member (e.g., such as sealing post 320) a sealed conduit is created and a complete and effective filtered fluid spraying nozzle is provided. The circular (0.25mm diameter) exit or discharge port 1330 is in fluid communication and receives fluid from the swirl channels1372, 1374, 1376, 1378 and filter posts 1340A-1340L are preferably molded in-situ within the interior surface of distal end-wall 1380. The molded interior surface of circular, planar or disc-shaped end wall 1380 includes grooves or troughs defining the swirl-inducing geometry 1310 and is carried within the substantially cylindrical sidewall segment 1390, which has an open proximal end 1392 and a closed distal end including the distal surface having substantially centered circular distal port or throat 1380 defined therethrough so that discharge port 1380 is aimed distally. One-piece filtered swirl cup nozzle member 1300 is optionally configured with first and second parallel opposing substantially planar "wrench-flat" segments (not shown) defined in cylindrical sidewall segment 1390.

    [0082] It will be appreciated by those with skill in the art that filtered swirl cup member 1300 includes a new filtering feature integrally molded within the fluidic cup structure. This filtering feature can be configured as a ring of inwardly and proximally projecting filter posts that force liquid product through interstitial filter openings 1350 and filter out coagulated or congealed product, larger particles etc. ("solids") and prevent those solids from clogging the swirl inducing channels. The cup configuration defines an inner ring-shaped volume which receives the filtered liquid and feeds the fluidic channels. Thus multiple filter openings 1350 are available and liquid product flow will not be interrupted even if some of the filter openings become temporarily clogged. In the example illustrated figs 20A and 20B twelve radially arrayed and equal area filter openings 1350 are defined between the filter post members and so even with a few openings clogged, the others remain available and in continuous fluid communication with the discharge orifice 1380.

    [0083] Turning now to the filter cup embodiments of Figs 21A and 21B, these are diagrams illustrating another one-piece, unitary filtered fluidic cup oscillator nozzle member 1400 configured with a plurality of (e.g., twelve) integral proximally projecting filter post members (1440A-1440L) which are spaced apart and arrayed around fluidic oscillator inducing features 1420, 1422, 1424 molded into the cup's interior surfaces, with a substantially circular discharge orifice or exit lumen 1430, where the two opposing venturi-shaped power nozzles 1422, 1424 are aimed at the interaction region 1420. The spaced proximally projecting filter post members (1440A-1440L) define a filtering region with lumens or filter openings 1450 therebetween so that pressurized fluid (e.g., liquid or foam) flowing into the nozzle assembly flows between the filter post members via inter-post filtering lumens 1450 and into a ring shaped volume 1452 which is in fluid communication with fluid oscillation inducing features 1420, 1422, 1424 and discharge orifice 1430 so that filtered fluid flows and the nozzle sprays without adverse effects caused by fluid product clogs.

    [0084] Filtered fluidic cup 1400 is preferably configured as a one-piece injection-molded plastic fluidic cup-shaped conformal nozzle and does not require a mufti-component insert and housing assembly. The fluidic oscillator's operative features or geometry 1410 are preferably molded directly into the cup's interior surfaces and the cup is configured for easy installation to an actuator body (e.g., 340). This eliminates the need for multi-component fluidic cup assembly made from a fluidic circuit defining insert which is received within a cup-shaped member's cavity (as in the embodiments of Figs 9A-11D). The filtered fluidic cup embodiment illustrated in Figs 21A and 21B provide a novel filtered fluidic circuit which functions like a planar fluidic circuit but which has the fluidic circuit's oscillation inducing features and geometry 1410 molded in-situ within a cup-shaped member so that once installed on an actuator's fluid impermeable, resilient support member (e.g., such as sealing post 320) a sealed conduit is created and a complete and effective fluidic oscillator nozzle is provided. The (preferably) circular (0.25mm diameter) exit or discharge port 1430 is in fluid communication and receives fluid from interaction region 1420. The opposing tapered venturi-shaped power nozzles 1422 and 1424 and interaction region 1420 are preferably molded in-situ within the interior surface of distal end-wall 1480. The molded interior surface of circular, planar or disc-shaped end wall 1480 includes grooves or troughs defining the two channel oscillation-inducing geometry 1410 and is carried within the substantially cylindrical sidewall segment 1490, which has an open proximal end 1492 and a closed distal end including a distal surface having substantially centered circular distal port or throat 1430 defined therethrough so that discharge port 1430 is aimed distally. One-piece filtered fluidic nozzle member 1400 is optionally configured with first and second parallel opposing substantially planar "wrench-flat" segments (not shown) defined in cylindrical sidewall segment 1490.

    [0085] It will be appreciated by those with skill in the art that filtered fluidic cup member 1400 includes a new filtering feature integrally molded within the fluidic cup structure. This filtering feature can be configured as a ring of inwardly and proximally projecting filter posts that force liquid product through interstitial filter openings 1450 and filter out coagulated or congealed product, larger particles etc. ("solids") and prevent those solids from clogging the fluidic channels. The cup configuration defines an inner ring-shaped volume which receives the filtered liquid and feeds the fluidic channels. Thus multiple filter openings 1450 are available and liquid product flow will not be interrupted even if some of the filter openings become temporarily clogged. In the example illustrated in Figs 21A and 21B, twelve radially arrayed and equal area filter openings are defined between the filter post members and so even with a few openings clogged, the others remain available and in continuous fluid communication with the discharge orifice 1430.

    [0086] The filter post geometry in filtered fluidic cup 1400 has been modified from that illustrated for filtered fluidic cup 1200 to adjust the size and distribution of the spray. The configuration of the ring of filter posts (1440A-1440L) has been observed to have a significant effect on spray quality. In the embodiment illustrated in Figs 21A and 21B, the size of the filter posts has been in reduced from those illustrated in Figs 19A and 19B to optimize fit with a commercially available mating part (e.g., similar to sealing post 320) which seals the fluidic geometry & completes the filtration system. The fluidic channel length has been increased from approximately Twice the Depth of Channel to Three times (3 x) the Depth of Channel. Two changes were required to make room for the longer channel. First, the radii at the entrance of the channel were reduced; and second, the width of the inner ring was reduced locally at the entrance of the channel. Manufacturing limitations prevented the width of the inner ring from being reduced uniformly across its circumference. As a result, the inwardly projecting elements defining the previously circular fluidic geometry of Figs 19A and 19B (1220, 1222, 1224) now resemble an oval shape (defining 1420, 1422, 1424).

    [0087] It will be appreciated that the filtered cups 1200, 1300 and 1400 and the method of the present invention for using these structures readily conform to the industry-standard actuator stem used in typical aerosol sprayers and trigger sprayers and so replaces the prior art "swirl cup" that goes over the actuator stem (e.g., 320), and the benefits of using a filter structure (e.g., proximally projecting filter post members (1240A-1240L) are made available with little or no significant changes to other parts of the industry standard liquid product packaging. With the filter cup embodiments and method of the present invention, vendors of liquid products and fluids sold in commercial aerosol sprayers and trigger sprayers can now provide very reliable filtered clog-free sprays in selected spray patterns (e.g., 650 or 850).

    [0088] It will be appreciated by persons having skill in the art that the filter post features defining the a filtering regions illustrated in Figs 19A-21B can be configured for use with the other nozzle assemblies or spray heads described above (e.g., those illustrated in Figs 7A-15), so a filter array or filtering region can be incorporated into sprayers 900 or 1000 with conformal, fluid nozzle components such as 1200, 1300, 1400 which are configured to generate a filtered spray discharged from a substantially closed distal end wall with a centrally located discharge orifice 1230, 1330, 1430 defined therein. Optionally, a cup-shaped filtered orifice defining member may also include a fluidic circuit's oscillation inducing geometry (1420, 1422, 1424) molded into the cup or directly into the distal surface of a nozzle assembly's or spray head's sealing post 902, 1002 with filter posts such that the filter cup provides the discharge orifice (e.g., 930, 1030, 1230, 1330, 1430).

    [0089] Having described preferred embodiments of a new and improved nozzle assembly and method, it is believed that other modifications, variations and changes will be suggested to those skilled in the art in view of the teachings set forth herein. It is therefore to be understood that all such variations, modifications and changes are believed to fall within the scope of the appended claims which define the present invention.


    Claims

    1. A filtering nozzle assembly or spray head including a lumen or duct for dispensing or spraying a pumped or pressurized liquid product or fluid from a valve, pump or actuator assembly drawing from a transportable container to generate a spray of fluid droplets, comprising;

    (a) an actuator body having a distally projecting sealing post having a post peripheral wall terminating at a distal or outer face, said actuator body including a fluid passage communicating with said lumen;

    (b) a cup-shaped filtered orifice defining member mounted in said actuator body having a peripheral wall extending proximally into a bore in said actuator body radially outwardly of said sealing post and having a distal radial wall comprising an inner face opposing said sealing post's distal or outer face to define a fluid channel including a chamber between said body's sealing post and said cup-shaped member's peripheral wall and distal wall;

    (c) said chamber being in fluid communication with said actuator body's fluid passage to define a fluid filter inlet so said pressurized fluid may enter said fluid channel's chamber and filtering region;

    (d) said cup-shaped member distal wall's inner face is configured to define within said chamber a plurality of proximally projecting filter posts (1240A-1240L, 1440A-1440L) with a first proximally projecting filter post and a second proximally projecting filter post, wherein said proximally projecting filter posts (1240A-1240L, 1440A-1440L) are radially arrayed and spaced apart to define inter-post filtering lumens (1250, 1450) therebetween for filtering passing pressurized fluid flowing through said chamber to provide a filtered fluid flow; and

    (e) wherein said chamber is in fluid communication with fluid oscillation inducing features (1220, 1222, 1224, 1420, 1422, 1424) and a discharge orifice (1230) defined in said cup-shaped member's distal wall (1280, 1480), wherein the fluid oscillation inducing features (1220, 1222, 1224, 1420, 1422, 1424) are two opposing venturi shaped power nozzles (1222, 1224, 1422, 1424) aimed at an interaction region (1220, 1420) and said filtered fluid flow exhausts from said discharge orifice (1230, 1430) as spray of fluid droplets in a selected spray pattern, wherein the cup shaped member is a one-piece, unitary fluidic cup oscillator configured with the plurality of integral proximally projecting filter posts (1240A-1240L, 1440A-1440L).


     
    2. The filtering nozzle assembly of claim 1, wherein cup-shaped fluidic circuit's distal end wall's power nozzles (1222, 1224, 1422, 1424) are defined between first and second distally projecting substantially parallel elongated alignment tabs or orientation ribs.
     
    3. The filtering nozzle assembly of claim 1, wherein said cup-shaped filtered orifice defining member's filter posts (1240A-1240L, 1440A-1440L) are molded directly into said cup's interior wall segments and the cup-shaped filtered orifice defining member is thus configured to be economically fitted onto the sealing post.
     
    4. The filtering nozzle assembly of claim 3, wherein said sealing post's distal or outer face has a substantially flat and fluid impermeable outer surface in flat face sealing engagement with the cup-shaped member's inwardly projecting filter posts.
     
    5. The filtering nozzle assembly of claim 4, wherein said distally projecting sealing post's peripheral wall and said cup-shaped fluidic circuit's peripheral wall are spaced axially to define said fluid channel as an annular lumen and are generally coaxially aligned with each other.
     
    6. The filtering nozzle assembly of claim 1, wherein said cup-shaped filtered orifice defining member is configured as a conformal, unitary, one-piece fluidic circuit configured for easy and economical incorporation into a trigger spray nozzle assembly or aerosol spray head actuator body including distally projecting sealing post and a lumen for dispensing or spraying a pressurized liquid product or fluid from a transportable container to generate an exhaust flow in the form of an oscillating spray of fluid droplets, comprising;

    (a) a cup-shaped fluidic circuit member having a peripheral wall extending proximally and having a distal radial wall comprising an inner face with features defined therein and an open proximal end configured to receive an actuator's sealing post;

    (b) said cup-shaped member's peripheral wall and distal radial wall having inner surfaces comprising a fluid channel including a chamber when said cup-shaped member is fitted to body's sealing post;

    (c) said chamber being configured to define a fluidic circuit oscillator inlet in fluid communication with an interaction region so when said cup-shaped member is fitted to body's sealing post and pressurized fluid is introduced via said actuator body, the pressurized fluid may enter said fluid channel's chamber and interaction region and generate at least one oscillating flow vortex within said fluid channel's interaction region;

    (d) wherein said cup shaped member's distal wall includes a discharge orifice in fluid communication with said chamber's interaction region, and

    (e) wherein said cup-shaped fluidic circuit's distal end wall's discharge orifice is defined between first and second distally projecting substantially parallel elongated alignment tabs or orientation ribs.


     
    7. The filtering nozzle assembly of claim 6, wherein said chamber is configured so that when said cup-shaped member is fitted to the body's sealing post and pressurized fluid is introduced via said actuator body, said chamber's fluidic oscillator inlet is in fluid communication with the first power nozzle (1222, 1422) and second power nozzle (1224, 1424), wherein said first power nozzle (1222, 1422) is configured to accelerate the movement of passing pressurized fluid flowing through said first nozzle (1222, 1422) to form a first jet of fluid flowing into said chamber's interaction region (1220, 1420), and said second power nozzle (1224, 1424) is configured to accelerate the movement of passing pressurized fluid flowing through said second nozzle (1224, 1424) to form a second jet of fluid flowing into said chamber's interaction region (1220, 1420), and wherein said first and second jets impinge upon one another at a selected inter-jet impingement angle and generate oscillating flow vortices within said fluid channel's interaction region (1220, 1420).
     
    8. The filtering nozzle assembly of claim 7, wherein said chamber is configured so that when said cup-shaped member is fitted to the body's sealing post and pressurized fluid is introduced via said actuator body, said chamber's interaction region is in fluid communication with said discharge orifice defined in said fluidic circuit's distal wall, and said oscillating flow vortices exhaust from said discharge orifice as an oscillating spray of substantially uniform fluid droplets in a selected spray pattern having a selected spray width and a selected spray thickness.
     
    9. The filtering nozzle assembly of claim 8, wherein said first and second power nozzles (1222, 1224, 1422, 1424) comprise venturi-shaped or tapered channels or grooves in said distal wall's inner face.
     
    10. The filtering nozzle assembly of claim 9, wherein said first and second power nozzles (1222, 1224, 1422, 1424) terminate in a rectangular or box shaped interaction region (1220, 1420) defined in said distal wall's inner face.
     
    11. The filtering nozzle assembly of claim 10, wherein said first and second power nozzles (1222, 1224, 1422, 1424) terminate in a cylindrical interaction region (1220, 1420) defined in said distal wall's inner face.
     
    12. The filtering nozzle assembly of claim 8, wherein said selected inter-jet impingement angle is 180 degrees and said chamber is configured so that when said cup-shaped member is fitted to the body's sealing post and pressurized fluid is introduced via said actuator body, said oscillating flow vortices are generated within said fluid channel's interaction region (1220, 1420) by opposing jets.
     
    13. The filtering nozzle assembly of claim 1, wherein said first power nozzle (1222, 1422) is configured to form a first jet of fluid flowing into said chamber's interaction region (1220, 1420), and said second power nozzle (1224, 1424) is configured to form a second jet of fluid flowing into said chamber's interaction region (1220, 1420), and wherein said first and second jets impinge upon one another at a selected inter-jet impingement angle within said fluid channel's interaction region (1220, 1420).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Filterdüsenanordnung oder Sprühkopf, die bzw. der ein Lumen oder eine Durchführung zum Ausgeben oder Sprühen eines gepumpten oder unter Druck stehenden flüssigen Produkts oder Fluids aus einem Ventil, einer Pumpe oder einer Aktuatoranordnung durch Ansaugen aus einem transportierbaren Behälter beinhaltet, um einen Sprühnebel von Fluidtröpfchen zu erzeugen, Folgendes umfassend:

    (a) einen Aktuatorkörper, der einen distal vorstehenden Dichtungspfosten aufweist, der eine periphere Pfostenwand aufweist, die an einer distalen oder Außenseite endet, wobei der Aktuatorkörper einen Fluiddurchlass beinhaltet, der mit dem Lumen kommuniziert;

    (b) ein eine becherförmige Filterblende definierendes Element, das im Aktuatorkörper montiert ist und eine periphere Wand aufweist, die sich vom Dichtungspfosten radial nach außen proximal in eine Bohrung im Aktuatorkörper erstreckt und eine distale radiale Wand aufweist, die eine Innenseite umfasst, die der distalen oder Außenseite des Dichtungspfostens gegenüberliegt, um einen Fluidkanal zu definieren, der zwischen der peripheren Wand und der distalen Wand des Dichtungspfostens des Körpers und des becherförmigen Elements eine Kammer beinhaltet;

    (c) wobei die Kammer mit dem Fluiddurchlass des Aktuatorkörpers in Fluidkommunikation steht, um einen Fluidfiltereinlass zu definieren, damit das unter Druck stehende Fluid in die Kammer und die Filterregion des Fluidkanals eintreten kann;

    (d) die Innenseite der distalen Wand des becherförmigen Elements ist dazu ausgelegt, in der Kammer eine Vielzahl von proximal vorstehenden Filterpfosten (1240A-1240L, 1440A-1440L) mit einem ersten proximal vorstehenden Filterpfosten und einen zweiten proximal vorstehenden Filterpfosten zu definieren, wobei die proximal vorstehenden Filterpfosten (1240A-1240L, 1440A-1440L) radial angeordnet und beabstandet sind, um zum Filtern von unter Druck stehendem durchgeleitetem Fluid, das durch die Kammer strömt, Zwischenpfostenfilterlumen (1250, 1450) dazwischen zu definieren, um einen gefilterten Fluidstrom bereitzustellen; und

    (e) wobei die Kammer mit eine Fluidoszillation beinhaltenden Merkmalen (1220, 1222, 1224, 1420, 1422, 1424) und einer Austragsblende (1230), die in der distalen Wand (1280, 1480) des becherförmigen Elements definiert ist, in Fluidkommunikation steht, wobei die eine Fluidoszillation beinhaltenden Merkmale (1220, 1222, 1224, 1420, 1422, 1424) zwei gegenüberliegende venturiförmige Leistungsdüsen (1222, 1224, 1422, 1424) sind, die auf eine Interaktionsregion (1220, 1420) gerichtet sind, und der gefilterte Fluidstrom aus der Austragsblende (1230, 1430) als Sprühnebel von Fluidtröpfchen in einem ausgewählten Sprühmuster austritt, wobei das becherförmige Element ein einstückiger, unitärer fluidischer Becheroszillator ist, der mit der Vielzahl von integralen proximal vorstehenden Filterpfosten (1240A-1240L, 1440A-1440L) ausgelegt ist.


     
    2. Filterdüsenanordnung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Leistungsdüsen (1222, 1224, 1422, 1424) der distalen Stirnwand des becherförmigen Fluidkreislaufs zwischen ersten und zweiten distal vorstehenden im Wesentlichen parallelen länglichen Ausrichtlaschen oder Orientierungsrippen definiert sind.
     
    3. Filterdüsenanordnung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Filterpfosten (1240A-1240L, 1440A-1440L) des die becherförmige Filterblende definierenden Elements direkt in die Innenwandsegmente des Bechers eingeformt sind und das die becherförmige Filterblende definierende Element somit ausgelegt ist, ökonomisch auf den Dichtungspfosten gesetzt zu werden.
     
    4. Filterdüsenanordnung nach Anspruch 3, wobei die distale oder Außenseite des Dichtungspfostens eine im Wesentlichen ebene und für Fluid undurchlässige Außenfläche in ebenseitigem Dichtungseingriff mit den nach innen vorstehenden Filterpfosten des becherförmigen Elements aufweist.
     
    5. Filterdüsenanordnung nach Anspruch 4, wobei die periphere Wand des distal vorstehenden Dichtungspfostens und die periphere Wand des becherförmigen Fluidkreislaufs axial beabstandet sind, um den Fluidkanal als ringförmiges Lumen zu definieren, und im Allgemeinen koaxial aufeinander ausgerichtet sind.
     
    6. Filterdüsenanordnung nach Anspruch 1, wobei das eine becherförmige Filterblende definierende Element als ein konformer, unitärer, einstückiger Fluidkreislauf ausgelegt ist, der für eine einfache und ökonomische Einbindung in eine Auslösesprühdüsenanordnung oder einen Aerosolsprühkopfaktuatorkörper ausgelegt ist, der einen distal vorstehenden Dichtungspfosten und ein Lumen zum Ausgeben oder Sprühen eines unter Druck stehenden flüssigen Produkts oder Fluids aus einem transportierbaren Behälter zum Erzeugen eines Austrittsstroms eines oszillierenden Sprühnebels von Fluidtröpfchen beinhaltet, Folgendes umfassend;

    (a) ein becherförmiges Fluidkreislaufelement mit einer peripheren Wand, die sich proximal erstreckt, und einer distalen radialen Wand, die eine Innenseite mit darin definierten Merkmalen und ein offenes proximales Ende, das dazu ausgelegt ist, einen Dichtungspfosten eines Aktuators aufzunehmen, umfasst;

    (b) wobei die periphere Wand und die distale radiale Wand des becherförmigen Elements Innenflächen aufweisen, die einen Fluidkanal umfassen, der eine Kammer beinhaltet, wenn sich das becherförmige Element am Dichtungspfosten des Körpers befindet;

    (c) wobei die Kammer dazu ausgelegt ist, einen Fluidkreislaufoszilatoreinlass zu definieren, der mit einer Interaktionsregion in Fluidkommunikation steht, derart, dass, wenn sich das becherförmige Element am Dichtungspfosten des Körpers befindet und unter Druck stehendes Fluid via den Aktuatorkörper eingeleitet wird, das unter Druck stehende Fluid in die Kammer und die Interaktionsregion des Fluidkanals eintreten und mindestens einen oszillierenden Stromwirbel in der Interaktionsregion des Fluidkanals erzeugen kann;

    (d) wobei die distale Wand des becherförmigen Elements eine Austragsblende beinhaltet, die mit der Interaktionsregion der Kammer in Fluidkommunikation steht, und

    (e) wobei die Austragsblende der distalen Stirnwand des becherförmigen Fluidkreislaufs zwischen ersten und zweiten distal vorstehenden im Wesentlichen parallelen länglichen Ausrichtlaschen oder Orientierungsrippen definiert ist.


     
    7. Filterdüsenanordnung nach Anspruch 6, wobei die Kammer derart ausgelegt ist, dass, wenn sich das becherförmige Element am Dichtungspfosten des Körpers befindet und unter Druck stehendes Fluid via den Aktuatorkörper eingeleitet wird, der Fluidoszillatoreinlass mit der ersten Leistungsdüse (1222, 1422) und der zweiten Leistungsdüse (1224, 1424) in Fluidkommunikation steht, wobei die erste Leistungsdüse (1222, 1422) dazu ausgelegt ist, die Bewegung des Durchleitens von unter Druck stehendem Fluid, das durch die erste Düse (1222, 1422) strömt, zu beschleunigen, um einen ersten Strahl von Fluid zu bilden, das in die Interaktionsregion (1220, 1420) der Kammer strömt, und die zweite Leistungsdüse (1224, 1424) dazu ausgelegt ist, die Bewegung des Durchleitens von unter Druck stehendem Fluid, das durch die zweite Düse (1224, 1424) strömt, zu beschleunigen, um einen zweiten Strahl von Fluid zu bilden, das in die Interaktionsregion (1220, 1420) der Kammer strömt, und wobei der erste und der zweite Strahl in einem ausgewählten Zwischenstrahlauftreffwinkel aufeinander auftreffen und in der Interaktionsregion (1220, 1420) des Fluidkanals oszillierende Stromwirbel erzeugen.
     
    8. Filterdüsenanordnung nach Anspruch 7, wobei die Kammer derart ausgelegt ist, dass, wenn sich das becherförmige Element am Dichtungspfosten des Körpers befindet und unter Druck stehendes Fluid via den Aktuatorkörper eingeleitet wird, die Interaktionsregion der Kammer mit der Austragsblende, die in der distalen Wand des Fluidkreislaufs definiert ist, in Fluidkommunikation steht und die oszillierenden Stromwirbel als oszillierendender Sprühnebel aus im Wesentlichen einheitlichen Fluidtröpfchen in einem ausgewählten Sprühmuster mit einer ausgewählten Sprühbreite und einer ausgewählten Sprühdicke aus der Austragsblende austreten.
     
    9. Filterdüsenanordnung nach Anspruch 8, wobei die ersten und die zweiten Leistungsdüsen (1222, 1224, 1422, 1424) in der Innenseite der distalen Wand venturiförmige oder konische Kanäle oder Rillen umfassen.
     
    10. Filterdüsenanordnung nach Anspruch 9, wobei die ersten und die zweiten Leistungsdüsen (1222, 1224, 1422, 1424) in einer rechteckigen oder kastenförmigen Interaktionsregion (1220, 1420), die in der Innenseite der distalen Wand definiert ist, enden.
     
    11. Filterdüsenanordnung nach Anspruch 10, wobei die ersten und die zweiten Leistungsdüsen (1222, 1224, 1422, 1424) in einer zylindrischen Interaktionsregion (1220, 1420), die in der Innenseite der distalen Wand definiert ist, enden.
     
    12. Filterdüsenanordnung nach Anspruch 8, wobei der ausgewählte Zwischenstrahlauftreffwinkel 180 Grad beträgt und die Kammer derart ausgelegt ist, dass, wenn sich das becherförmige Element am Dichtungspfosten des Körpers befindet und unter Druck stehendes Fluid via den Aktuatorkörper eingeleitet wird, die oszillierenden Stromwirbel in der Interaktionsregion (1220, 1420) des Fluidkanals durch entgegengesetzte Strahlen erzeugt werden.
     
    13. Filterdüsenanordnung nach Anspruch 1, wobei die erste Düse (1222, 1422) dazu ausgelegt ist, einen ersten Strahl von Fluid zu bilden, das in die Interaktionsregion (1220, 1420) der Kammer strömt, und die zweite Leistungsdüse (1224, 1424) dazu ausgelegt ist, einen zweiten Strahl von Fluid zu bilden, das in die Interaktionsregion (1220, 1420) der Kammer strömt, und wobei der erste und der zweite Strahl in einem ausgewählten Zwischenstrahlauftreffwinkel in der Interaktionsregion (1220, 1420) des Fluidkanals aufeinander auftreffen.
     


    Revendications

    1. Ensemble de buse de filtration ou tête de pulvérisation comprenant une lumière ou un conduit pour distribuer ou pulvériser un produit liquide ou fluide pompé ou sous pression à partir d'une valve, la pompe ou ensemble d'actionneur puisant dans un récipient transportable pour générer une pulvérisation de gouttes de fluide, comprenant :

    (a) un corps d'actionneur ayant un montant d'étanchéité en saillie de manière distale ayant une paroi périphérique de montant se terminant au niveau d'une face distale ou externe, ledit corps d'actionneur comprenant un passage de fluide communiquant avec ladite lumière ;

    (b) un élément de définition d'orifice filtré en forme de coupelle monté dans ledit corps d'actionneur ayant une paroi périphérique s'étendant de manière proximale dans un alésage dans ledit corps d'actionneur radialement vers l'extérieur dudit montant d'étanchéité et ayant une paroi radiale distale comprenant une face interne opposée à la face distale ou externe dudit montant d'étanchéité pour définir un canal de fluide comprenant une chambre entre le montant d'étanchéité dudit corps et la paroi périphérique dudit élément en forme de coupelle et la paroi distale ;

    (c) ladite chambre étant en communication de fluide avec le passage de fluide dudit corps d'actionneur pour définir une entrée de filtre de fluide de sorte que ledit fluide sous pression peut entrer dans la chambre dudit canal de fluide et la région de filtration ;

    (d) une face interne de ladite paroi distale d'élément en forme de coupelle est configurée pour définir dans ladite chambre, une pluralité de montants de filtre en saillie de manière proximale (1240A-1240L, 1440A-1440L) avec un premier montant de filtre en saillie de manière proximale et un second montant de filtre en saillie de manière proximale, dans lequel lesdits montants de filtre en saillie de manière proximale (1240A-1240L, 1440A-1440L) sont radialement disposés et espacés afin de définir des lumières de filtration entre les montants (1250, 1450) entre eux pour filtrer le fluide sous pression passant, s'écoulant à travers ladite chambre pour fournir un écoulement de fluide filtré ; et

    (e) dans lequel ladite chambre est en communication de fluide avec des caractéristiques d'induction d'oscillation de fluide (1220, 1222, 1224, 1420, 1422, 1424) et un orifice de décharge (1230) défini dans la paroi distale (1280, 1480) dudit élément en forme de coupelle, dans lequel les caractéristiques d'induction d'oscillation de fluide (1220, 1222, 1224, 1420, 1422, 1424) sont deux buses d'alimentation de forme de tube de Venturi (1222, 1224, 1422, 1424) dirigées vers une région d'interaction (1220, 1420) et ledit écoulement de fluide filtré s'échappe dudit orifice de décharge (1230, 1430) sous forme de pulvérisation de gouttes de fluide selon un motif de pulvérisation sélectionné, dans lequel l'élément en forme de coupelle est un oscillateur à coupelle fluidique unitaire d'un seul tenant configuré avec la pluralité de montants de filtre en saillie de manière proximale (1240A-1240L, 1440A-1440L) solidaires.


     
    2. Ensemble de buse de filtration selon la revendication 1, dans lequel les buses d'alimentation (1222, 1224, 1422, 1424) de la paroi d'extrémité distale du circuit fluidique en forme de coupelle sont définies entre des première et seconde languettes d'alignement ou nervures d'orientation allongées sensiblement parallèles en saillie de manière distale.
     
    3. Ensemble de buse de filtration selon la revendication 1, dans lequel les montants de filtre (1240A-1240L, 1440A-1440L) dudit élément de définition d'orifice filtré en forme de coupelle sont moulés directement dans les segments de paroi intérieurs de ladite coupelle et l'élément de définition d'orifice filtré en forme de coupelle est ainsi configuré pour être économiquement monté sur le montant d'étanchéité.
     
    4. Ensemble de buse de filtration selon la revendication 3, dans lequel la face distale ou externe dudit montant d'étanchéité a une surface externe sensiblement plate et imperméable au fluide en mise en prise d'étanchéité de face plate avec les montants de filtre en saillie vers l'intérieur de l'élément en forme de coupelle.
     
    5. Ensemble de buse de filtration selon la revendication 4, dans lequel la paroi périphérique dudit montant d'étanchéité en saillie de manière distale et la paroi périphérique dudit circuit fluidique en forme de coupelle sont axialement espacées pour définir ledit canal de fluide en tant que lumière annulaire et sont généralement alignées de manière coaxiale entre elles.
     
    6. Ensemble de buse de filtration selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ledit élément de définition d'orifice filtré en forme de coupelle est configuré comme un circuit fluidique conforme, unitaire, d'un seul tenant configuré pour l'incorporation facile et économique dans un ensemble de buse de pulvérisation à déclencheur ou un corps d'actionneur de tête de pulvérisation d'aérosol comprenant un montant d'étanchéité en saillie de manière distale et une lumière pour distribuer ou pulvériser un produit liquide sous pression ou un fluide depuis un récipient transportable pour générer un écoulement de sortie sous la forme d'une pulvérisation oscillante de gouttes de fluide, comprenant :

    (a) un élément de circuit fluidique en forme de coupelle ayant une paroi périphérique s'étendant de manière proximale et ayant une paroi radiale distale comprenant une face interne avec des caractéristiques définies à l'intérieur de cette dernière et une extrémité proximale ouverte configurée pour recevoir un montant d'étanchéité d'un actionneur ;

    (b) la paroi périphérique ou paroi radiale distale dudit élément en forme de coupelle ayant des surfaces internes comprenant un canal de fluide comprenant une chambre lorsque ledit élément en forme de coupelle est monté sur le montant d'étanchéité dudit corps ;

    (c) ladite chambre étant configurée pour définir une entrée d'oscillateur de circuit fluidique en communication de fluide avec une région d'interaction de sorte que lorsque ledit élément en forme de coupelle est monté sur le montant d'étanchéité du corps et que le fluide sous pression est introduit via ledit corps d'actionneur, le fluide sous pression peut entrer dans la chambre dudit canal de fluide et la région d'interaction et générer au moins un tourbillon d'écoulement oscillant dans la région d'interaction dudit canal de fluide ;

    (d) dans lequel la paroi distale dudit élément en forme de coupelle comprend un orifice de décharge en communication de fluide avec la région d'interaction de ladite chambre, et

    (e) dans lequel l'orifice de décharge de la paroi d'extrémité distale dudit circuit fluidique en forme de coupelle est défini entre des première et seconde languettes d'alignement ou nervures d'orientation allongées sensiblement parallèles en saillie de manière distale.


     
    7. Ensemble de buse de filtration selon la revendication 6, dans lequel ladite chambre est configurée de sorte que lorsque ledit élément en forme de coupelle est monté sur le montant d'étanchéité du corps et le fluide sous pression est introduit via ledit corps d'actionneur, l'entrée d'oscillateur fluidique de ladite chambre est en communication de fluide avec la première buse d'alimentation (1222, 1422) et la seconde buse d'alimentation (1224, 1424), dans lequel ladite première buse d'alimentation (1222, 1422) est configurée pour accélérer le mouvement du fluide sous pression passant, s'écoulant dans ladite première buse (1222, 1422) pour former un premier jet de fluide s'écoulant dans la région d'interaction (1220, 1420) de ladite chambre, et ladite seconde buse d'alimentation (1224, 1424) est configurée pour accélérer le mouvement du fluide sous pression passant, s'écoulant dans ladite second buse (1224, 1424) pour former un second jet de fluide s'écoulant dans la région d'interaction (1220, 1420) de ladite chambre, et dans lequel lesdits premier et second jets empiètent l'un sur l'autre à un angle d'empiétement entre les jets, sélectionné et génèrent des tourbillons d'écoulement oscillants dans la région d'interaction (1220, 1420) dudit canal de fluide.
     
    8. Ensemble de buse de filtration selon la revendication 7, dans lequel ladite chambre est configurée de sorte que lorsque ledit élément en forme de coupelle est monté sur le montant d'étanchéité du corps et que le fluide sous pression est introduit via ledit corps d'actionneur, la région d'interaction de ladite chambre est en communication de fluide avec ledit orifice de décharge défini dans la paroi distale dudit circuit fluidique, et lesdits tourbillons d'écoulement oscillant s'échappent dudit orifice de décharge sous la forme d'une vaporisation oscillante de gouttes de fluide sensiblement uniformes selon un motif de pulvérisation sélectionné ayant une largeur de pulvérisation sélectionnée et une épaisseur de pulvérisation sélectionnée.
     
    9. Ensemble de buse de filtration selon la revendication 8, dans lequel lesdites première et seconde buses d'alimentation (1222, 1224, 1422, 1424) comprennent des canaux ou rainures progressivement rétrécis ou en forme de tube de Venturi dans la face interne de ladite paroi distale.
     
    10. Ensemble de buse de filtration selon la revendication 9, dans lequel lesdites première et seconde buses d'alimentation (1222, 1224, 1422, 1424) se terminent par une région d'interaction rectangulaire ou en forme de boîte (1220, 1420) définie dans la face interne de ladite paroi distale.
     
    11. Ensemble de buse de filtration selon la revendication 10, dans lequel lesdites première et seconde buses d'alimentation (1222, 1224, 1422, 1424) se terminent par une région d'interaction cylindrique (1220, 1420) définie dans la face interne de ladite paroi distale.
     
    12. Ensemble de buse de filtration selon la revendication 8, dans lequel ledit angle d'empiétement entre les jets sélectionné est de 180 degrés et ladite chambre est configurée de sorte que lorsque ledit élément en forme de coupelle est monté sur le montant d'étanchéité du corps et que le fluide sous pression est introduit via ledit corps d'actionneur, lesdits tourbillons d'écoulement oscillant sont générés dans la région d'interaction (1220, 1420) dudit canal de fluide par des jets opposés.
     
    13. Ensemble de buse de filtration selon la revendication 1, dans lequel ladite première buse d'alimentation (1222, 1422) est configurée pour former un premier jet de fluide s'écoulant dans la région d'interaction (1220, 1420) de ladite chambre, et ladite seconde buse d'alimentation (1224, 1424) est configurée pour former un second jet de fluide s'écoulant dans la région d'interaction (1220, 1420) de ladite chambre, et dans lequel lesdits premier et second jets empiètent l'un sur l'autre à un angle d'empiétement entre les jets, sélectionné dans la région d'interaction (1220, 1420) dudit canal de fluide.
     




    Drawing

























































    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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

    Patent documents cited in the description