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Better Pump Dispenser Bottle Design

One small design modification can help consumers use every last drop.
  (+29)(+29)(+29)
(+29)
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I remember coming up with this idea years ago. I'm sure others have come up with this already. (My husband pitched this to me this morning.) However, I did not find anything online or even here at the HB, so here it is...

Think about any pump-type dispenser bottle you have ever used. (Think lotion dispensers, shampoo and conditioner pump-bottles, etc.) These bottles all have the long tube sucking up liquid or creamy product up through it, to the top for dispensing.

The problem occurs toward the end of the product, when the bottle is almost emptied of stuff. When there is just a little bit of product left in the bottle, especially the creamy stuff, it tends to spread itself along the (usually) flat bottom of the bottle, making the dispensing most difficult toward the end. The tube touches one point, usually the bottom center, (sometimes the edge) of the bottle only.

My proposed solution is for the bottles to be slightly redesigned so that, although the bottle will still have an outside bottom that is flat and will allow it to be set on a flat surface with stability, the inside of the bottle will not have a flat bottom, but will rather funnel toward the bottom center, where the dispensing tube will make contact. The bottle's bottom edges will just need to be a little thicker than the middle spot.

Now all that thick hand lotion can funnel toward the very lowest point inside the bottom of the bottle, making every last drop available to the dispensing tube, saving needless wasted product, and money for re-purchase of the product.

XSarenkaX, Jan 18 2006

Proposed Bottle Design Sketch1 http://www.flickr.c...-72157600761852385/
I quickly sketched some bottle designs. Here's one... [XSarenkaX, Jan 19 2006, last modified Mar 27 2008]

Proposed Bottle Design Sketch2 http://www.flickr.c...-72157600761852385/
...and here's another [XSarenkaX, Mar 27 2008]

[link]






       Ah, those Push-Pops. I remember those! I suppose my idea could be applied to that design, simply by reversing the funnel shape toward the top of the "gun" or whatever you want to call it. Wherever the last bit of product would be is where the funnelling should occur.
XSarenkaX, Jan 18 2006
  

       This is truly brilliant!   

       Only thing is, I can't see why manufacturers would bother, the sooner you run out of the product the better as far as they're concerned.   

       Having said that, it would probably just take one company to start using these bottles and the rest would probably follow suit. I'd be surprised if these don't become standard in the next few years...hmmm...how ethical would it be to steal this idea and market it...
daaisy, Jan 18 2006
  

       This is not currently done for two reasons.   

       The manufacturer wants you to purchase more product, and while it's easy to theorise this bottle it's difficult and more costly to manufacture than the style currently in use.   

       That said, [+]
normzone, Jan 18 2006
  

       I can't readily envision a way to mold the bottle in one piece with this shape, with a flat bottom, without also creating a recess that will trap product that can't be dispensed. It would be easy with the secondary operation of adding a separate stabilizing base to a bottle with a conical end, somewhat like some 2 liter soda bottles.
half, Jan 18 2006
  

       Awesome idea [xSx]!
phundug, Jan 18 2006
  

       Very good idea. The two issues of 'Product Volume' and in particular the increased bottle manufacturing cost (at least to modify the machinery) could be overcome if the take up was good (and marketed as a benefit for the consumer).
I suspect that the lotion manufacturer would balk at the little 'dead product' that would be done away with unless they saw their sales increasing as a result of looking fairer to the consumer.
Nice One, IMHO.
gnomethang, Jan 18 2006
  

       [21 Quest], [half] is correct. This would have to be a two-piece container, which would add measurable cost.   

       Product itself generally costs the manufacturer only in batch lots - a variation of an ounce or so is essentially free for the supplier.
normzone, Jan 18 2006
  

       Some manufacturers say that they sell X ounces of useable product, although I've only seen this printed on deodorant sticks. Many throw in an extra squirt on bottled products just to be sure that variations in the filling process leave no bottle under-filled. Many use a bottle with a domed base, and angle the suction hose over to one side to get most of the product out, which means you can tip the bottle to get the last bits, if you know which direction to tip--spray-paint cans have a little red dot on the rim somewhere.   

       I'd say that the suggestion that product is cheaper than plastic is correct, and is allowed for by the manufacturers. I'm saying this is a non-problem, except for people like me who hate to waste anything, and the idea as described isn't a non-obvious solution. Everybody has thought of it, but it just ain't worth doing . . . until somebody uses it as a marketing gimmick, and charges extra money for it.   

       Buy the re-fill bottles to refill those pesky pumps. Then you are saving product and plastic and pumps.   

       Worthy quest, but no solution. No vote.
baconbrain, Jan 18 2006
  

       I'm with [baconbrain] on this. A more complicated container will be more expensive and less ecofriendly than wasting the last bit of product, sadly.
moomintroll, Jan 18 2006
  

       My God yes! I've been looking for a good design for pump-dispenser bottles for years, and this is it! If only there were a way to get them mass-produced. Get this out there somehow and i WILL buy it in hundreds. I wish i could vote for this twice.
nineteenthly, Jan 18 2006
  

       //for people like me who hate to waste anything// Indeed. It would sell.
Shz, Jan 18 2006
  

       Good thinking, [boysparks], and I'm racking my brain (the mold design lobe) in vain for ways to accomplish this.
normzone, Jan 18 2006
  

       I like the idea but would be ask how much material you would lose if you would to place this cone at the bottom. Sure almost none would be wasted but with the other bottles you may waste more but would still get more out.
Antegrity, Jan 18 2006
  

       Most containers already have a sort of 'cone' at the bottom. The only problem is that the cone is only effective when the container is tipped over at some angle. If somehow the container could be kept at that angle, then all the contents would drain to the edge. The tube also needs to be at this point, for it to work.
Ling, Jan 18 2006
  

       Wow, what a great response! I just wanted to clarify on something that may be hard to envision without a diagram.   

       The bottle bottom only needs to create a slight angling effect toward the bottom center, depending on the thickness of the product and how long it sits before it's used. The "cone" shape does not need to be as pointy as a pencil to work, and I don't think it would need a two-piece design to be manufactured, either. Just create a slope greater than 0 degrees (maybe as little as 10 degrees would make enough of a difference) and funnel toward the center.   

       If the inside of a bottle could be round, while the outside has a flat bottom, I think that would also work. I just want gravity to help us out a bit toward the end.
XSarenkaX, Jan 19 2006
  

       I sketched a quick design. (See new linky-dink.)
XSarenkaX, Jan 19 2006
  

       There are a couple of ways I see how to do this:   

       1. Injection mold the container as one piece wherein there is a curved bottom recessed upwards from the bottom rim of the container.   

       2. Extending [half]'s earlier thought a bit: Create a separate bottom piece that is sold with the first purchase of the product and into which the round-bottomed container snugly fits. The consumer retains the bottom piece for subsequent purchases. It can be weighted to give the feel of quality and durability.
bristolz, Jan 19 2006
  

       Yeah, kind of tough to build. Doesn't mean it's not a good idea. Just needs to be thunk on some more. Bottle molds only determine the outside shape. The thickness is determined by the amount of material blown or poured into it. More later.
oxen crossing, Jan 19 2006
  

       very creative, XX. +1
po, Jan 20 2006
  

       I fixed my link. Hopefully this will work better now.
XSarenkaX, Jan 20 2006
  

       I'm not putting down the idea, just contributing my impressions. I think it could work, depending upon the viscosity and other properties of the bottle contents. I can imagine a number of ways the bottle could be made. I just don't know if it could be done using standard, low cost, high volume blow molding techniques. Those processes tend, by design, to result in containers of fairly uniform wall thickness.   

       It is not uncommon for packaging to account for a very large portion of the cost of a product. I think [baconbrain] is on target: it's probably not worth doing, from the manufacturers perspective. Meanwhile, back at the halfbakery, it's a good idea that provides me some entertainment value in thinking about possible implementations.
half, Jan 20 2006
  

       Well. I thought this idea represented an advance in _pump_ design. That would be the thing, as I've experienced that typical pumps are extraordinarily flimsy. With respect to spray bottle pumps: most break in the second refill, the rest in the third.   

       Speaking as a former window washer -- I have issues with spray bottle pumps in currently available configurations.
reensure, Jan 20 2006
  

       You know, I was going to include spray bottles in this design revision, but since the liquid is usually runny enough to tip the bottle around, I didn't think it would be as important as this is for thicker fluids.   

       Also, I've never had a spray bottle break from regular use. What are you doing to them, [reensure]? If you have a halfbaked idea about spray bottles, let's see what you've got! Post something.
XSarenkaX, Jan 25 2006
  

       Updated my design sketch link/s. :)
XSarenkaX, Mar 27 2008
  

       This is a fantastic idea! A possible way to make it manufacturable: Blow-mold the bottle as usual, but with the funnelly/domed bottom (which it will not be able to stand upright on), and some features near the bottom to enable clip attachment of a base. Injection-mold a separate base piece that clips onto the bottom of the bottle. But won't that be more expensive? No! The base is reusable from one bottle to the next, and you sell the base as a separate product! Bases will be standardized for the various preferred sizes of bottle, so they can be used across products as well. Products are sold in bottles without bases on them, and will only need a cardboard frame to hold them upright on the store shelf.
notexactly, Apr 15 2018
  
      
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