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Claims for Patent: 6,240,918

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Claims for Patent: 6,240,918

Title: Powdered medication inhaler
Abstract:A powder dispenser includes a reservoir body including a supply of powder and an inhalation conduit; a driving body for rotating the reservoir body and including upper recesses and two spring fingers in lower driving recesses thereof; a rotatable metering plate for carrying a metered amount of powder from the supply to the inhalation conduit, and having an underside with ribs; a gas permeable retainer welded to the ribs; a spring biasing the metering plate toward the reservoir body; a nozzle having spiked ribs welded in the upper recesses of the driving body and including a chimney with vertical flutes; an adapter non-rotatably mounted with respect to the metering plate and including two locking recesses for receiving the spring fingers for locking engagement and two helical cam tracks with a square cross-section; a closure cap covering the driving body and including priming ribs biasing the spring fingers out of the locking recesses and engaging with the locking recesses to rotate the driving body, and two cams riding within the cam tracks; a base non-rotatably connected with the metering plate; and a counter rotatably mounted on the base and including rotatable counter rings providing a visual count of the number of doses of powder to be dispensed, and a pawl assembly engaging with gear teeth of the counter rings for rotating the same, the pawl assembly including an outer wall, a pawl and a pawl spring integrally molded as a single piece.
Inventor(s): Ambrosio; Thomas J. (Somerville, NJ), Benson, Jr.; Warren A. (Woodville, WI), Dao; Kim C. (Wayne, NJ), Kenyon; David J. (Morristown, NJ), Kreiseder; Walter J. (Barrington, IL), Schonebaum; Theodore J. (Menomonie, WI), Vogel; Allen J. (Long Grove, IL), Walker; Louis B. (Menomonie, WI), Yang; Tsong-Toh (Warren, NJ)
Assignee: Schering Corporation (Kenilworth, NJ)
Application Number:08/803,363
Patent Claims: 1. A powder dispenser comprising:

a supply holder for holding a supply of powdered material to be dispensed;

an inhalation conduit extending in a first direction and positioned in displaced relation to said supply holder;

a device for carrying a predetermined amount of said powdered material from said supply holder to said inhalation conduit; and

a nozzle for reducing particle sizes of agglomerates of powdered material from the inhalation conduit to form micronized powdered material and for mixing said micronized powdered material with suction air, said nozzle including:

a swirl cavity for changing the direction of flow of said powder from said first direction of said inhalation conduit to a second direction different from said first direction and for substantially continuously changing the direction of flow of said powder in said second direction therein, said swirl cavity being defined by a top wall and a skirt connected to a periphery of said top wall, said top wall having an opening therein; and

a supply chimney extending from said top wall in surrounding relation to said opening for changing the direction of flow of said powder from said second direction of said swirl cavity substantially back to said first direction, said supply chimney extending along an axial direction thereof and including an inner tubular wall surface having vertically oriented irregularities extending in said axial direction.

2. The powder dispenser according to claim 1, wherein said irregularities are formed by a plurality of flutes on said inner tubular wall surface.

3. The powder dispenser according to claim 2, wherein said flutes are formed by:

a plurality of first concave wall sections extending in said axial direction and having an arc of a first radius in a direction transverse to said axial direction, and

a plurality of second wall sections extending in said axial direction and interconnecting said first concave wall sections.

4. The powder dispenser according to claim 3, wherein said second wall sections are of a concave configuration having an arc of a second radius in a direction transverse to said axial direction, said second radius being greater than said first radius.

5. The powder dispenser according to claim 1, wherein said top wall has a circular shape and said opening is centrally located in said top wall, and said swirl cavity includes a curved wall extending from said opening to said skirt.

6. The powder dispenser according to claim 5, wherein said curved wall extends in a substantially spiral manner.

7. The powder dispenser according to claim 5, wherein said curved wall is connected with said top wall.

8. The powder dispenser according to claim 1, wherein said supply chimney has a central axis and said inhalation conduit has a central axis parallel to and offset from the central axis of said supply chimney.

9. The powder dispenser according to claim 1 wherein:

said supply holder and inhalation conduit are included in a powder housing, said powder housing including:

a reservoir body including said supply of powdered material and said inhalation conduit, and

a driving body secured to said reservoir body for driving said reservoir body in a rotational direction, said driving body including a plurality of recesses in an upper portion thereof;

said device for carrying comprises a metering plate including a metered dose hole for holding said predetermined amount of said powdered material, said metering plate being positionable below said supply of powdered material, and said metering plate and said powder housing being relatively bi-directionally rotatable with respect to each other about a common central axis so that said metered dose hole can be placed in fluid communication selectively with said supply of powdered material or said inhalation conduit;

said powder dispenser includes a spring for biasing said metering plate and said powder housing toward each other; and

said nozzle is mounted to said driving body and includes at least one rib welded in said recesses of said driving body.

10. A powder dispenser according to claim 9, wherein said driving body has a top wall, and said recesses are arranged along a peripheral portion of said top wall.

11. A powder dispenser according to claim 10, wherein said top wall has a circular configuration, and said recesses are arranged along a common circle in said peripheral portion of said circular top wall.

12. A powder dispenser according to claim 9, wherein at least one of said recesses extends for a different length than another of said recesses, and said each of said at least one rib has a length corresponding to a respective one of said recesses.

13. A powder dispenser according to claim 9, wherein said at least one rib and said driving body are made from a plastic material, and said at least one rib is ultrasonically welded in said recesses of said driving body such that the plastic material of said at least one rib is fused into the plastic material of said recesses.

14. The powder dispenser according to claim 1 wherein:

said supply holder and inhalation conduit are included in a powder housing, said powder housing including:

a reservoir body including said supply of powdered material and said inhalation conduit, and

a driving body secured to said reservoir body for driving said reservoir body in a rotational direction, said driving body including at least one driving recess with a spring finger in each driving recess;

said device for carrying comprises a metering plate including a metered dose hole for holding said predetermined amount of said powdered material, said metering plate being positionable below said supply of powdered material, and said metering plate and said powder housing being relatively bi-directionally rotatable with respect to each other about a common central axis so that said metered dose hole can be placed in fluid communication selectively with said supply of powdered material or said inhalation conduit;

and said powder dispenser further includes:

a spring for biasing said metering plate and said powder housing toward each other;

an adapter non-rotatably mounted with respect to said metering plate, said adapter including at least one locking recess for receiving said at least one spring finger therein to prevent rotation of said powder housing relative to said adapter and said metering plate; and

a closure cap for covering said powder housing and for priming said powder dispenser for use, said closure cap including a priming arrangement for rotating said powder housing such that said inhalation conduit is in communication with said metered dose hole when said closure cap is removed from covering relation of said powder housing and for rotating said powder housing such that said inhalation conduit is out of communication with said metered dose hole when said closure cap is secured in covering relation to said powder housing, said priming arrangement including at least one priming rib for biasing said at least one spring finger out of said at least one locking recess of said adapter to enable rotation of said powder housing relative to said metering plate and for engaging with said at least one driving recess to rotate said powder housing relative to said metering plate.

15. The powder dispenser according to claim 14, wherein said driving body includes two diametrically opposite spring fingers, said adapter includes two diametrically opposite locking recesses and said cap includes at least two diametrically opposite priming ribs.

16. The powder dispenser according to claim 14, wherein each priming rib includes an upper ramp portion and a lower ramp portion which meet at an intermediate projecting portion and reduce in thickness as they move away from said projecting portion, such that said upper ramp portion initially biases said at least one spring finger out of said at least one locking recess during removal of said closure cap from said covering relation and said' lower ramp portion initially biases said at least one spring finger out of said at least one locking recess during securement of said closure cap to said covering relation.

17. The powder dispenser according to claim 16, wherein each said spring finger includes a depression which receives said projecting portion when said closure cap means is fully secured in said covering relation.

18. The powder dispenser according to claim 14, wherein said driving body includes two diametrically opposite driving recesses and two spring fingers extending within said two driving recesses in an unbiased condition.

19. The powder dispenser according to claim 1, wherein:

said supply holder and inhalation conduit are included in a powder housing;

said device for carrying comprises a metering plate including a metered dose hole for holding said predetermined amount of said powdered material, said metering plate being positionable below said supply of powdered material, and said metering plate and said powder housing being relatively bi-directionally rotatable with respect to each other about a common central axis so that said metered dose hole can be placed in fluid communication selectively with said supply of powdered material or said inhalation conduit;

and said powder dispenser further includes:

a spring for biasing said metering plate and said powder housing toward each other;

an adapter non-rotatably mounted with respect to said metering plate, said adapter including at least one helical cam track having a substantially square cross-sectional configuration; and

a closure cap for covering said powder housing and for priming said powder dispenser for use, said closure cap including a priming arrangement for rotating said powder housing such that said inhalation conduit is in communication with said metered dose hole when said closure cap is removed from covering relation of said, powder housing and for rotating said powder housing such that said inhalation conduit is out of communication with said metered dose hole when said closure cap is secured in covering relation to said powder housing, said closure cap including:

an annular skirt having an inner surface, and

at least one cam formed on a lower portion of the inner surface of annular skirt for riding within said at least one helical cam track.

20. The powder dispenser according to claim 19, wherein each said cam track includes an entry portion defining a vertical drop zone in which said at least one cam engages prior to permitting helical movement of said at least one cam within said at least one cam track.

21. The powder dispenser according to claim 19, wherein there are two said helical cam tracks and two said cams.

22. The powder dispenser according to claim 1, wherein:

said supply holder and inhalation conduit are included in a powder housing;

said device for carrying comprises a metering plate including a metered dose hole for holding said predetermined amount of said powdered material, said metering plate being positionable below said supply of powdered material, and said metering plate and said powder housing being relatively bi-directionally rotatable with respect to each other about a common central axis so that said metered dose hole can be placed in fluid communication selectively with said supply of powdered material or said inhalation conduit;

and said powder dispenser further includes:

a gas permeable retainer for retaining a dose of said powdered material in said metered dose hole, said retainer being positioned below said metered dose hole; and

a spring for biasing said metering plate and said powder housing toward each other;

said metering plate having an underside with ribs thereon;

said retainer being positioned in overlying relation to the underside of said metering plate and to said ribs thereon; and

said retainer being welded to said ribs such that said ribs are fused into said retainer.

23. The powder dispenser according to claim 22, wherein said retainer is formed by a material selected from the group consisting of a gas-permeable filter, a mesh screen, a porous material mesh and a perforated plate element.

24. The powder dispenser according to claim 22, wherein said retainer is ultrasonically welded to said ribs.

25. The powder dispenser according to claim 22, wherein said ribs are formed in a plurality of spaced apart, concentric circles.

26. The powder dispenser according to claim 22, wherein each rib has a substantially triangular cross-sectional configuration.

27. The powder dispenser according to claim 1, wherein:

said supply holder and inhalation conduit are included in a powder housing;

said device for carrying comprises a metering plate for holding a metered amount of said powdered material, said metering plate including metered dose hole for holding said predetermined amount of said powdered material, said metering plate being positionable below said supply of powdered material, and said metering plate and said powder housing being relatively bi-directionally rotatable with respect to each other about a common central axis so that said metered dose hole can be placed in fluid communication selectively with said supply of powdered material or said inhalation conduit;

and said powder dispenser further includes:

a spring for biasing said metering plate and said powder housing toward each other;

a base having an axially extending retaining post thereon coaxial with said common axis and non-rotatably connected with said metering plate, said base having oppositely angled walls on opposite sides of said post; and

a counter, rotatably mounted on said base in surrounding relation to said retaining post, for providing a visual count of the number of doses of said powdered material that have been dispensed or remain to be dispensed in response to said relative rotation of said powder housing and said metering plate, said counter including:

a counter ring assembly for providing said visual count, said counter ring assembly being rotatable about said common central axis and having counting indicia thereon for displaying said visual count, said counter ring assembly including:

a continuous counter ring having counting indicia thereon and gear teeth formed therearound on an inner surface thereof, and

an intermittent counter ring coaxially mounted with said continuous counter ring and having counting indicia thereon and gear teeth formed therearound on an inner surface thereof,

a display through which one of said counting indicia from said counter ring assembly is displayed to indicate a count corresponding to a number of doses of powdered material that have been dispensed or remain to be dispensed; and

an actuating device for incrementally rotating said counter ring assembly in response to said relative rotation between said metering plate and said powder housing, said actuating device including a pawl assembly engaging with said gear teeth of said continuous counter ring and said intermittent counter ring for rotating said continuous counter ring one increment each time that a dose of the powdered material is dispensed to display another one of said counting indicia of said continuous counter ring through said display, and for rotating said intermittent counter ring one increment every predetermined number of rotational increments of said continuous counter ring to display another one of said counting indicia of said intermittent counter ring through said display, said pawl assembly including:

an outer wall having an outer surface and an inner surface,

at least one side wall connected with said outer wall and surrounding said axially extending retaining post and positioned between said angled walls in order to limit a rotation angle of said pawl assembly about said axially extending retaining post,

a pawl, integrally molded as a single piece with the outer surface of said outer wall, for engagement within the gear teeth of one of said continuous counter ring and said intermittent counter ring, and

a pawl spring, integrally molded as a single piece with the inner surface of said outer wall, for biasing said pawl into engagement with said gear teeth of said continuous counter ring and said intermittent counter ring, said pawl spring extending along a generally radial direction.

28. The powder dispenser according to claim 27, wherein said pawl spring has a generally L-shaped configuration.

29. The powder dispenser according to claim 27, wherein said pawl spring has a generally linear configuration and extends at an angle from the inner surface of said outer wall.

30. The powder dispenser according to claim 27, wherein said pawl spring has one end integrally molded with an upper portion of said inner surface of said outer wall.

31. The powder dispenser according to claim 27, wherein said gear teeth of said continuous counter ring are arranged in correspondence with said counting indicia thereon, and said gear teeth of said intermittent counter ring are arranged in correspondence with said counting indicia thereon.

32. The powder dispenser according to claim 27, wherein the gear teeth of said continuous counter ring include a plurality of successive first gear teeth of a first depth and at least one second gear tooth of a second, greater depth, each said second gear tooth being positioned after every predetermined number of said first gear teeth; and said intermittent counter ring includes a plurality of successive third gear teeth of a depth equal to the depth of each said second gear tooth of said continuous counter ring so that said pawl engages with successive ones of said first gear teeth during successive dosing operations and engages with one said second gear tooth and a third gear tooth of said intermittent counter ring after a plurality of the dosing operations.

33. The powder dispenser according to claim 27, wherein said actuating device further includes a pawl driver for incrementally rotating said pawl assembly, said pawl driver including a retainer rotatably mounted on said base coaxially with said continuous counter ring and said intermittent counter ring, said retainer including a first pawl driver for engaging with one side of said pawl assembly to incrementally rotate said pawl assembly in a first rotational direction at the end of rotation of said retainer in said first rotational direction and a second pawl driver for engaging an opposite side of said pawl assembly to incrementally rotate said pawl assembly in a second, opposite rotational direction at the end of rotation of said retainer in said second, opposite rotational direction.

34. The powder dispenser according to claim 27, wherein said indicia are oriented in an axial direction of said dispenser so that said indicia can be read when said dispenser is vertically oriented.

35. The powder dispenser of claim 1, wherein the irregularities in the supply chimney are formed by concave wall sections of a first radius, interconnected by concave wall sections of a larger radius.

36. The powder dispenser of claim 1, wherein the irregularities in the supply chimney are formed by planar wall sections.

37. A powder dispenser comprising:

a powder housing for holding a supply of powdered material to be dispensed, said powder housing including an inhalation conduit extending therethrough in a first direction, in displaced relation to said supply of powdered material, said powder housing including:

a reservoir body including said supply of powdered material and said inhalation conduit, and

a driving body secured to said reservoir body for driving said reservoir body in a rotational direction, said driving body including:

a plurality of recesses in an upper portion thereof,

at least one driving recess in a lower portion thereof, and

at least one spring finger in said at least one driving recess;

a metering plate for holding a metered amount of said powdered material, said metering plate including a metered dose hole for holding said metered amount of said powdered material, said metering plate being positionable below said supply of powdered material, and said metering plate and said powder housing being relatively bi-directionally rotatable with respect to each other about a common central axis so that said metered dose hole can be placed in fluid communication selectively with said supply of powdered material or said inhalation conduit, said metering plate having an underside with ribs thereon;

a gas permeable retainer for retaining a dose of said powdered material in said metered dose hole, said retainer being positioned below said metered dose hole and in overlying relation to the underside of said metering plate and to said ribs thereon, said retainer being welded to said ribs such that said ribs are fused into said retainer;

a spring for biasing said metering plate and said powder housing toward each other;

a nozzle, mounted to said driving body, for reducing particle sizes of agglomerates of powdered material from an inhalation conduit extending in a first direction in a powder dispenser to form micronized powdered material and for mixing said micronized powdered material with suction air, said nozzle comprising:

a swirl cavity for changing the direction of flow of said powder from said first direction of said inhalation conduit to a second direction different from said first direction and for substantially continuously changing the direction of flow of said powder in said second direction therein, said swirl cavity being defined by a top wall and a skirt connected to a periphery of said top wall, said top wall having an opening therein; and

a supply chimney extending from said top wall in surrounding relation to said opening for changing the direction of flow of said powder from said second direction of said swirl cavity substantially back to said first direction, said supply chimney extending along an axial direction thereof and including an inner tubular wall surface having vertically oriented irregularities extending in said axial direction, and

at least one rib welded in said recesses of said driving body;

an adapter non-rotatably mounted with respect to said metering plate, said adapter including:

at least one locking recess for receiving said at least one spring finger therein to prevent rotation of said powder housing relative to said adapter and said metering plate, and

at least one helical cam track having a substantially square cross-sectional configuration;

a closure cap for covering said powder housing and for priming said powder dispenser for use, said closure cap including:

a priming arrangement for rotating said powder housing such that said inhalation conduit is in communication with said metered dose hole when said closure cap is removed from covering relation of said powder housing and for rotating said powder housing such that said inhalation conduit is out of communication with said metered dose hole when said closure cap is secured in covering relation to said powder housing, said priming arrangement including at least one priming rib for biasing said at least one spring finger out of said at least one locking recess of said adapter to enable rotation of said powder housing relative to said metering plate and for engaging with said at least one driving recess to rotate said powder housing relative to said metering plate,

an annular skirt having an inner surface, and

at least one cam formed on a lower portion of the inner surface of annular skirt for riding within said at least one helical cam track;

a base having an axially extending retaining post thereon coaxial with said common axis and non-rotatably connected with said metering plate; and

a counter, rotatably mounted on said base in surrounding relation to said retaining post, for providing a visual count of the number of doses of said powdered material that have been dispensed or remain to be dispensed in response to said relative rotation of said powder housing and said metering plate, said counter including:

a counter ring assembly for providing said visual count, said counter ring assembly being rotatable about said common central axis and having counting indicia thereon for displaying said visual count, said counter ring assembly including:

a continuous counter ring having counting indicia thereon and gear teeth formed therearound on an inner surface thereof, and

an intermittent counter ring coaxially mounted with said continuous counter ring and having counting indicia thereon and gear teeth formed therearound on an inner surface thereof,

a display through which one of said counting indicia from said counter ring assembly is displayed to indicate a count corresponding to a number of doses of powdered material that have been dispensed or remain to be dispensed; and

an actuating device for incrementally rotating said counter ring assembly in response to said relative rotation between said metering plate and said powder housing, said actuating device including a pawl assembly engaging with said gear teeth of said continuous counter ring and said intermittent counter ring for rotating said continuous counter ring one increment each time that a dose of the powdered material is dispensed to display another one of said counting indicia of said continuous counter ring through said display, and for rotating said intermittent counter ring one increment every predetermined number of rotational increments of said continuous counter ring to display another one of said counting indicia of said intermittent counter ring through said display, said pawl assembly including:

an outer wall having an outer surface and an inner surface,

a pawl, integrally molded as a single piece with the outer surface of said outer wall, for engagement within the gear teeth of one of said continuous counter ring and said intermittent counter ring,

a pawl spring, integrally molded as a single piece with the inner surface of said outer wall, for biasing said pawl assembly into engagement with said gear teeth of said continuous counter ring and said intermittent counter ring, said pawl spring extending along a generally radial direction.
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