Abbott’s single-use, unit-dose "liquid" pouch

Assigned to Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, IL, this recently published patent plays off yet another revision for the ever-popular pouch that is flexible in far more ways than in structure.

Abbott’s patent filing for the pouch addresses a need for liquid human milk fortifiers that are commercially sterile, do not require refrigeration, and have relatively low acidity. In addition, it should be sufficiently flexible to allow in-pouch mixing and a transparency so that a user can see that the proper mixing has occurred before opening the packaging to dispense the fortifier.

The patent invention comprises two films that create a front panel and a back panel to define a space within the structure that contains a volume of liquid product that’s less than about half of the total liquid capacity of the pouch, which can range from 2 mL to 80 mL.

What's going on with that unused ~40 percent or more of the pouch volume is that it permits product mixing via manual kneading by the user.

In fact, the need for kneading is a fundamental differentiating characteristic of the pouch and is illustrated through three charts. These indicate that when the amount of liquid in the pouch exceeded 50 percent, the kneadibility of the pouch was reduced.

That design-driven kneading attribute results in a more effective, better blended product than a ready-to-use infant formula, which can experience phase separation including creaming at the top and sediment at the bottom. 

Broad definition of liquids

The pouch also uses a broad definition of a liquid product as “a flowable non-solid product including, for example but not limited to, aqueous solutions, emulsions, colloids, pastes, gels, dispersions and other flowable non-solid products.”

In other words, it covers most forms except solid products such as bars and particulate products such as powders.

One version of the pouch is spouted.

The patent also describes a hinged, secondary container that serves as a multipack. The patent also covers the specifics of leak detection to ensure the integrity of the finished pouch; in this instance, Abbott’s patent holders describe the sequential use of an in-line checkweigher  to reject out-of-specification pouches followed by high-voltage leak detection (HVLD) inspection system that non­destructively inspects the pouch seal and therefore the integrity of the pouch.

To view the patent directly at Fresh Patents, click here

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