Title of Invention

"A PLUG FOR COOPERATING WITH A WASTE OUTLET"

Abstract A plug (10) for cooperating with a waste outlet (12) having a seal (28); a stem (20) coupled to the seal (28) and having a first portion coupled with a second portion, the stem (20) being received in an waste outlet (12) and removable therefrom such that both the first portion and second portion separate as a unit from the waste outlet (12), the stem (20) being selectively adjustable in length for selectively engaging the seal (28) with a portion of waste outlet (12) to open and seal (28) the waste outlet (12); and a strainer member (30) associated with one of the seal (28) and the stem (20), characterized in that the stem (20) is adjustable in length in response to a compressive force exerted on the stem (20).
Full Text

The present invention relates to a plug for cooperating with a waste outlet.
The present invention relates to a combined plug and strainer for use in a waste, such as a sink or bath waste. BACKGROUND OP INVENTION
It is known to use strainer members in combination with plugs in sink wastes, to prevent the entry of solid matter into the sink waste, which may otherwise block the waste outflow pipe. Such strainers are of particular use in kitchen sinks, which are. likely to have food particles and the like falling into the waste. Conventional strainers are typically in the form of a disc formed with a number of holes therethrough which is placed over the waste.
In certain variants of conventional strainers, the disc is cupped in form, and includes upwardly extending peripheral walls. The shape of the strainer allows it to fit snugly into the opening of the waste outlet, and so improves the straining capability of the strainer.
The cupped form of strainer may also be provided in combination with a plug. The plug is typically in the form of an elastomer body or ring which is mounted on the underside of the strainer. The plug and' strainer normally are placed within the waste outlet such that the plug closes the outlet. Partial lifting of the strainer and plug upwards separates the plug from the waste outlet and allows waste water to flow through the strainer to the waste

outlet, so capturing any solid matter in the strainer. The strainer and plug may then be simply lifted further from the waste outlet to remove the strainer and plug altogether, and to permit cleaning of the strainer.
However, such combined strainers and plugs suffer from a. number of disadvantages. Chief among these is that the plug and strainer must be manually lifted and removed from the waste. This can prove difficult for many users, and in particular for users of restricted dexterity, who may not be able to grasp the plug and strainer securely to permit removal; this may require considerable force, due to the weight of water tending to maintain the plug closed and the difficulty in separating the close fitting sealing surfaces.
Plugs which can be operated mechanically, for example lever operated or 'pop-up' plugs, which are more suitable for such users, are known; however it has not hitherto been possible to provide a mechanically operated plug in combination with a strainer which is suitable for operation by persons of reduced dexterity. It is among the objects of embodiments of the present invention to provide such an arrangement. SUMMARY OF INVENTION
According to the present invention, there is provided a plug comprising a seal; a stem for being received in an outlet waste and coupled to the seal, the stem being

selectively adjustable in length for selectively engaging the seal with a portion of an outlet waste to open and seal an outlet waste; and a strainer member coupled to one of the seal and the stem.
Thus, the present invention provides a plug which may be opened and closed simply by varying the length of the stem, and which is provided with a strainer member. In certain embodiments of the invention, the stem is arranged to be variable in length in response to an axial force exerted on the stem; this allows the plug to be opened or closed simply with a downwards push on the plug, such that the plug is suitable for use by persons of restricted dexterity.
A plug according to certain embodiments of the present invention may in use define three working positions -closed; open and straining; and fully removed. Further, the manner of opening the plug by means of the stem provides a system whereby a user does not need to exert undue force against the weight of water to open the plug. This provides a range of working conditions which has not hitherto been possible with conventional strainer plugs, and makes the plug more suitable for use by persons of restricted dexterity.
Preferably the stem defines a vertical axis, and extends axially downwardly of the seal,' with the strainer being located axially upwardly of the seal. Thus, in use

the strainer will be located uppermost in the plug assembly, with the seal being located below the strainer within the waste outlet. This configuration allows the user to obtain ready access to the strainer portion of the plug for cleaning and maintenance. This arrangement has not hitherto been possible with conventional mechanically actuated plugs. Preferably the strainer in use in a closed position is located flush with or below a waste outlet; this provides an aesthetically-pleasing arrangement as well as avoiding obstructing use of the sink or receptacle in which the plug is located.
In alternative embodiments, the seal may be located axially upwardly of the strainer, such that the strainer is located in use below the seal. This allows the seal to be made larger to fully seal a waste opening, while the strainer may be located within the waste.
Preferably the strainer is removable from the stem or the seal to which it is attached. This allows the strainer to be removed for cleaning or maintenance while still permitting regular use of the seal arrangement.
Preferably the strainer is configured to conform to the shape of an opening of a waste outlet; the strainer will thus be received snugly within the waste outlet.
Preferably the plug further comprises a surface for contact with a user's hand. The surface is conveniently in the form of a pad or button, and provides a portion of the

plug which a user may depress in order to selectively alter the length of the stem. The surface may be provided on a portion of the plug which is formed to permit grasping thereof; this allows a user to grip or grasp the surface for removal of the plug from a waste or the like. The surface may also or instead be provided on a portion of the plug which is arranged to retain the strainer and/or the seal on the stem; in such embodiments, the surface may be removable from the plug to permit disassembly of the plug. In further embodiments of the invention, the surface may be in the form of a pad dimensioned to substantially cover a waste outlet opening; this serves to conceal the strainer and seal and allows for decorative finishes to be applied if desired.
Preferably the stem comprises two substantially concentric portions biased to a first length by means of a spring or the like. The stem may further comprise a latch means arranged to hold the portions in a second length against the spring bias. Application of a force to the plug may cause the latch to engage or disengage, so altering the length of the stem. Preferably the stem may be either extended or contracted by the application and release of a force in a single direction. That ia, the plug may be switched from open to closed positions, and vice versa, by for example pushing down on and then releasing the plug. Thus, no complex movements are necessary to operate the

plug.
Preferably the stem length may be varied by the application of less than around 5 Ibs (2.2 kg) of force; this level of force may be exerted by a substantial majority of users, even those of restricted dexterity, and so presents little difficulty in the operation of the plug.
Preferably the seal is resilient, and preferably comprises a resilient material; conveniently elastomer. The seal preferably comprises a circular flange which in use engages with a portion of a waste outlet.
Preferably the stem is adapted to be secured to an outlet waste; alternatively the stem may be freely received in an outlet waste. This second arrangement permits the entire plug assembly to be easily removed for cleaning or maintenance. In certain embodiments the stem comprise means for selectively securing the stem to an outlet waste; for example, the stem may include a threaded member normally covered with a non-threaded sleeve; the stem will normally be freely received within the outlet waste. Removal of the non-threaded sleeve exposes a threaded member allowing the stem to be secured to a threaded portion of a waste.
The plug may be provided in combination with a waste outlet. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
These and other aspects of the present invention will now be described by way of example only and with reference

to the accompanying Figures, in which
Figure 1 shows a top view of a plug in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention in combination with a waste;
Figure 2 shows a sectional side view of the plug and waste of Figure 1; and
Figure 3 shows a sectional side view of an alternate embodiment of a plug in accordance with the present invention. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
Referring to Figures 1 and 2, these show a combination strainer and seal plug 10 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. The plug 10 is shown in combination with a waste outlet 12, which includes an interior surface portion 14 and an exterior shell 16. The shell 16 includes a threaded portion 18 for connection to a waste pipe system.
The plug 10 itself includes a two-part plastics stem 20a, 20b, the lower portion of which carries a protrusion 22 which is received within an externally threaded sleeve 24 coupled to the portion 14. The threaded sleeve 24 passes through a corresponding opening in the shell 16, and a nut 39 secures the interior surface portion 14 to the exterior shell 16, thereby trapping a sink or the like between upper flange portions of the interior surface portion 14 and the exterior shell 16.

On the upper portion 20a of the plastic stem is threadedly mounted a ring 26 which carries an elastomer seal member 28 and a strainer member 30. The strainer member is generally circular and cup-shaped, and includes a peripheral wall 34 and a number of openings 36. The cup shape of the strainer 30 allows it to sit flush with the waste opening 12, as can be best seen in Figure 2.
Above the ring 26 and also threadedly mounted to the plastic stem 20a is a knob 32. The knob is of relatively large diameter compared with conventional plugs, and so is easier to grip for users. The knob may be removed from the stem to permit removal of the ring 26 and either or both of the strainer 30 and seal 28, for maintenance and cleaning.
In use, the plug 10 may be operated as follows. The plastic stem 20a, 20b includes a compression spring and a cam track and stop member (not shown). The lower portion of the stem 20b is telescopically received within the upper portion 20a, and the compression spring biases the lower portion 2Ob towards an extended position.
Exertion of pressure on the stem 20a, 20b by means of a user pressing down on the knob 32 compresses the stem and allows the stop member to engage with the cam track in a first stop position. This retains the stem in a compressed position against the bias of the spring. In this position the seal 28 is in engagement with the inner portion of the waste outlet 14, such that the outlet is sealed.

To separate the seal from the outlet 14 and to allow water to drain through the waste, the user presses on the knob 32 once more. The stem is compressed again, and the stop member is released from the first stop position. The spring pushes the stem to an extended position, and the stop member moves along the cam track to engage in a second stop position. The seal 28 is thus spaced from the outlet surface (in the position shown in Figure 2) to permit water to drain through the waste; the presence of the strainer 30 ensures that water first has to pass through the strainer which removes large particles such as food from the draining water.
Referring now to Figure 3, this shows a sectional side view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the seal 128 is located above the strainer 130. The seal 128 will thus engage in use with an upper flange of a waste outlet (not shown) to seal the plug. The knob 132 is sized to conform with a waste outlet opening, and will in use conceal the seal 128 and strainer 130 from a user's view. The knob 132 may be made of a decorative material, to provide an improved aesthetic appeal for the plug. This larger size of knob may of course be used with the embodiment of Figures 1 and 2 if desired.
The plastics stem 120a, 120b of this embodiment carries a protrusion 122 which in normal use is slidably received into a sleeve of the waste outlet (not shown), to

locate the plug within the waste outlet. The protrusion 122 is threadedly attached to a threaded lower portion 140 of the stem 12Ob; the protrusion may thereby be removed if desired to expose the threaded portion 140. This threaded portion 140 may then be threadedly engaged with a correspondingly-threaded sleeve (not shown) provided on a waste outlet to secure the plug in the waste outlet. This is of benefit if a user wishes the plug to be non-removable from the waste outlet. Again, this variant may be used with the embodiment of Figures 1 and 2 if desired.
It can be seen that the present invention provides a mechanically-operable plug arrangement which includes a strainer and which can be operated by persons of reduced dexterity, since limited force and simple movements are required to open or close the plug, even when the plug must be opened against the weight of water. The plug may also in certain embodiments be removed altogether from the waste; the knob on the upper surface of the plug allows this to be accomplished relatively easily. The location of the strainer on an upper portion of the plug in certain embodiments allows for ready access to the strainer for cleaning, while the seal and/or the strainer may be disassembled from the plug in certain embodiments if desired.
The plug may be so constructed as to have the strainer lie flush with or below the waste outlet in the open and

closed positions.
It will be understood that the foregoing is for illustrative purposes only, and that the skilled person will be able to conceive of variations which may be made to the described embodiment, without departing from the invention. For this reason, the scope of the invention should be determined with reference to the appended claims.





We claim
1. A plug (10) for cooperating with a waste outlet (12) having a seal (28); a stem (20) coupled to the seal (28) and having a first portion coupled with a second portion, the stem (20) being received in an waste outlet (12) and removable therefrom such that both the first portion and second portion separate as a unit from the waste outlet (12), the stem (20) further being selectively adjustable in length for selectively engaging the seal (28) with a portion of waste outlet (12) to open and seal (28) the waste outlet (12); and a strainer member (30) associated with one of the seal (28) and the stem (20), characterized in that the stem (20) is adjustable in length in response to a compressive force exerted on the stem (20).
2. The plug (10) as claimed in claim 1, wherein the stem (20) defines a vertical axis, and extends axially downwardly of the seal (28), with the strainer being located axially upwardly of the seal (28).
3. The plug (10) as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the strainer is located at an uppermost portion of the plug (10), with the seal (28) being located below the strainer within the waste outlet (12).
4. The plug (10) as claimed in claim 3, wherein the strainer is locatable flush of the waste outlet (12).
5. The plug (10) as claimed in claim 1, wherein the seal (28) is located on an upper portion of the plug (10), with the strainer being located below the seal (28) within the waste outlet (12).
6. The plug (10) as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the strainer is removable from the stem (20) or the seal (28) to which it is coupled.
7. The plug (10) as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the strainer has a shape corresponding to the shape of an opening of a waste outlet (12).

8. The plug (10) as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein a plug (10) surface is provided for contact with a user's hand.
9. The plug (10) as claimed in claim 8, wherein the surface is in the form of an button.
10. The plug (10) as claimed in claim 8 or claim 9, wherein said surface is provided on a portion (32) of the plug (10) formed to permit grasping thereof.
11. The plug (10) as claimed in claims 8, 9 or 10, wherein the surface is provided on a portion of the plug (10) for retaining one of the strainer and the seal (28) on the stem (20).
12. The plug (10) as claimed in claim 11, wherein the portion of the plug (10) is removable from the plug (10) to permit disassembly of the plug (10).
13. The plug (10) as claimed in any of claims 7 to 12, wherein the surface is dimensioned to conceal a waste outlet (12) opening in use.
14. The plug (10) as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the stem (20) comprises two concentric portions biased to a first length.
15. The plug (10) as claimed in claim 14, wherein the stem (20) having a latch means is located to hold the portions in a second length against the bias.
16. The plug (10) as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the stem (20) may be extended and contracted by the application and release of a force in a single direction.
17. The plug (10) as claimed in claim 16, wherein the stem (20) length may be varied by the application of less than around 5 lbs (2.2 kg) of force.
18. The plug (10) as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the seal (28) comprises a resilient material.

19. The plug (10) as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the stem (20) is secured to waste outlet (12).
20. The plug (10) as claimed in claim 19, wherein the stem (20) comprises a threaded member for engaging with a correspondingly-threaded member provided on a waste outlet (12).
21. The plug (10) as claimed in claim 20, wherein a non-threaded sleeve for engaging with the threaded stem member is provided to allow the stem (20) to be freely received in a waste outlet (12).
22. The plug (10) as claimed in any of claims 1 to 18, wherein the stem (20) is freely received in a waste outlet (12).
23. The plug (10) as claimed any preceding claims, wherein the strainer is a basket strainer.
24. The plug (10) as claimed in any preceding claim, provided in combination with a waste outlet (12).
25. The plug (10) as claimed in claim 24, wherein the stem (20) is located in the centre of the waste outlet (12).
26. The plug (10) as claimed in claim 25, wherein the waste outlet (12) has an inner portion and an outer portion are centrally secured relative to each other.
27. The plug (10) as claimed in claim 26, wherein the strainer and the waste outlet (12) define a flow gap there between when the seal (28) is in the open position.
28. The plug (10) as claimed in claim 27, wherein the flow gap is annular and defined by an outer circumference of the strainer and a surrounding inner surface of the waste outlet (12).

29. The plug (10) as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein the strainer is fixed relative to the seal (28).



Documents:

5291-DELNP-2005-Abstract-(06-11-2008).pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Abstract-(16-06-2009).pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Abstract-(23-04-2009).pdf

5291-delnp-2005-abstract.pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Claims-(06-11-2008).pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Claims-(16-06-2009).pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Claims-(23-04-2009).pdf

5291-delnp-2005-claims.pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Correspondence-Others-(06-11-2008).pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Correspondence-Others-(16-06-2009).pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Correspondence-Others-(18-06-2009).pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Correspondence-Others-(23-04-2009).pdf

5291-delnp-2005-correspondence-others.pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Description (Complete)-(06-11-2008).pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Description (Complete)-(16-06-2009).pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Description (Complete)-(23-04-2009).pdf

5291-delnp-2005-description (complete).pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Drawings-(06-11-2008).pdf

5291-delnp-2005-drawings.pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Form-1-(06-11-2008).pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Form-1-(23-04-2009).pdf

5291-delnp-2005-form-1.pdf

5291-delnp-2005-form-18.pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Form-2-(06-11-2008).pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Form-2-(23-04-2009).pdf

5291-delnp-2005-form-2.pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Form-3-(06-11-2008).pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Form-3-(23-04-2009).pdf

5291-delnp-2005-form-3.pdf

5291-delnp-2005-form-5.pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-GPA-(06-11-2008).pdf

5291-delnp-2005-gpa.pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Others-Document-(23-04-2009).pdf

5291-delnp-2005-pct-210.pdf

5291-delnp-2005-pct-304.pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Petition-137-(06-11-2008).pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Petition-137-(23-04-2009).pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Petition-138-(06-11-2008).pdf

5291-DELNP-2005-Petition-138-(23-04-2009).pdf

abstract.jpg


Patent Number 236023
Indian Patent Application Number 5291/DELNP/2005
PG Journal Number 39/2009
Publication Date 25-Sep-2009
Grant Date 16-Sep-2009
Date of Filing 17-Nov-2005
Name of Patentee MCALPINE & CO. LIMITED
Applicant Address KELVIN AVENUE, HILLINGTON, GLASGOW G52 4LF, ENGLAND.
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 JAMES KENNETH MCALPINE MCALPINE & CO. LIMITED, KELVIN AVENUE, HILLINGTON, GLASGOW G52 4LF ENGLAND.
PCT International Classification Number A47K 1/14
PCT International Application Number PCT/GB2004/002063
PCT International Filing date 2004-05-14
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 0311036.8 2003-05-14 U.K.