Toner Cartridge

Toner cartridge

Toner Cartridge Abstract
The present invention relates to a toner cartridge, which contain the toner directly in a housing. The housing has an opening. A plug is disposed in the housing at where the opening is. The plug has a small diameter portion that has a diameter smaller than the opening. A piston is disposed in the housing to be biased by an elastic member to the plug for sealing the opening. Such toner cartridge has a simple structure to reduce the cost of fabrication and use and has a function of preventing leaking toner.

Toner Cartridge Claims
What is claimed is:

1. A toner cartridge, comprising: a housing having a chamber for containing toner, an opening, and an inner tube disposed in the chamber and communicated with the opening, wherein the inner tube is provided with a supporting portion at a distal end thereof and a hollow portion; a plug disposed in the housing, which has a through hole at a center thereof communicated with the opening of the housing, wherein the through hole has a small diameter portion which has a diameter smaller than a diameter of the opening; a piston slidably disposed in the inner tube of the housing, and an elastic member disposed in the inner tube of the housing with opposite ends thereof against the supporting portion of the housing and the piston to bias the piston to the plug for sealing the opening.

2. The toner cartridge as defined in claim 1, further comprising a buffer member connected to the plug, wherein the buffer member has a through hole communicated with the through hole of the plug.

3. The toner cartridge as defined in claim 1, wherein the inner tube is provided with a plurality of ribs.

4. The toner cartridge as defined in claim 1, wherein the plug has a fixing member fixed to the housing and a washer disposed at between the fixing member and the housing, wherein the washer has a hole defining the smaller diameter portion of the through hole of the plug.

5. The toner cartridge as defined in claim 4, wherein the piston has a protruding portion fitted to the hole of the washer.

6. The toner cartridge as defined in claim 1, wherein the housing has a straight tube communicated with the opening for holding the plug.

7. The toner cartridge as defined in claim 1, wherein the piston has a resting portion for supporting one of said opposite ends of the elastic member.

Medical Supplies Patent

Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to an electrical image forming device, and more particularly to a toner cartridge with a simple structure and with the function of preventing toner leakage.

[0003] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0004] FIG. 5 shows a conventional toner cartridge 1 having a housing 2, a soft bag 3 received in the housing 2 to contain toner and an output device 4 disposed at an outlet of the soft bag 3. The output device 4 is extruded out of the housing 2 through an opening 5. While the toner had run out, both the soft bag 3 and the output device 4 are drawn out of the housing 2 for replacement. The old soft bag 3 and the output device 4 are dropped as a waste that does not meet the requirement of recycle and economic benefit.

[0005] In fact, the conventional toner cartridge 1 designating its soft bag 3 and the output device 4 having to be dropped has an essential reason for its structure. As shown in FIG. 6, the output device 4 is provided with a connector 6 to be received in the opening 5 of the housing 2 for coupling the soft bag 3 with the housing 2. The connector 6 has a tube 7 therein and the tube 7 is extended into the soft bag 3. A piston 8 is disposed in the tub 7. The piston 8 is provided with a hook 81 on the top to hook on an end of the tube 7. The piston 8 is provided with a head 82 at the bottom. A spring 83 is provided to bias the piston 8 downward. The head 82 of the piston 8 is squeezed into a hole 91 of a sponge 9 for seal of the soft bag 3. While outputting the toner in the soft bag 3, a driving member 92 is inserted into the hole 91 of the sponge 9 and moves the piston 8 upwards, when overcomes the force of the spring 83, to force the head 82 of the piston 8 leaving the hole 91 of the sponge 9. The toner is drooped out via a hole 93 of the driving member 92. There is always a friction between the sponge 9 and the head 82 of the piston 8, so that there is a gap between the sponge 9 and the head 82 after a long time of use and it makes a leakage of toner. For the above reason, the soft bag 3 and the output device 4 have to be replaced. It is a drawback of the structure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] The primary objective of the present invention is to provide a toner cartridge, which has no problem of leakage after a long time of use.

[0007] The secondary objective of the present invention is to provide a toner cartridge, which has a novelty and simple structure to reduce the cost.

[0008] According to the objectives of the present invention, a toner cartridge comprises a housing, a plug, a piston and an elastic member. The housing has a chamber for containing toner, an opening and an inner tube disposed in the chamber and communicated with the opening. The inner tube is provided with a supporting portion at a distal end thereof and a hollow portion. The plug is disposed in the housing, which has a through hole at a center thereof communicated with the opening of the housing. The through hole has a small diameter portion which has a diameter smaller than a diameter of the opening. The piston is slidably disposed in the inner tube of the housing. The elastic member is disposed in the inner tube of the housing with opposite ends thereof against the supporting portion of the housing and the piston to bias the piston to the plug for sealing the opening.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0010] FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0011] FIG. 3 is a sectional view along the 3-3 line of FIG. 1;

[0012] FIG. 4 is a sectional view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, showing its action;

[0013] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the conventional toner cartridge, and

[0014] FIG. 6 is a sectional view in a part of the conventional toner cartridge.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0015] As shown in FIGS. from FIG. 1 to FIG. 3, a toner cartridge 10 of the preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a housing 20, a plug 30, a piston 40, an elastic member 50 and a buffer member 60.

[0016] The housing 20 is a container having a broad top and a narrow bottom and is made of a hard material, such as plastics or cardboard. The housing 20 has a chamber 21 for containing toner. The housing 20 has an opening 22 at the bottom and an inner tube 24 extended from an interior wall thereof and communicated with the opening 22. On a distal end of the inner tube 24, a supporting portion 25 is provided to be contacted by the elastic member 50. The inner tube 24 has four hollow portions 26 oriented in a vertical direction. The toner runs into the inner tube 24 through the hollow portions 26. The inner tube 24 is provided with four ribs 27 at an interior wall thereof to position the elastic member 50. The housing 20 has a straight tube 28 extended from an exterior wall thereof and communicated with the opening 22 for holding the plug 30.

[0017] The plug 30 has a through hole 31 at a center thereof to be communicated with the opening 22 of the housing 20. In the present preferred embodiment, the plug 30 has a fixing member 32 fixed in the straight tube 28 of the housing 20 and a washer 34 disposed at between the fixing member 32 and the housing 20. The washer 34 is made of an elastic material, such as rubber. The fixing member 32 has a hole 33 defining a large diameter portion 311 of the through hole 31 and the washer 34 has a hole 35 defining a small diameter portion 312 of the through hole 31. A diameter of the small diameter portion 312 is smaller than a diameter of the opening 22. In practice, the plug can also be molded to be a single unit.

[0018] The piston 40 is slidably disposed in the inner tube 24 of the housing 20 to seal the opening 22, but there is still a gap between the piston 40 and the opening 22. The piston 40 has a protruding portion 42 to be fitted in the hole 35 of the washer 34 for sealing the chamber 21 and the opening 22 exactly. The piston 40 has a resting portion 44 at a top thereof to supporting a bottom end of the elastic member 50. In practice, the shape of the piston is not restricted in the embodiment. It could be any shape, like a ball for example.

[0019] The elastic member 50 is disposed in the inner tube 24 of the housing 20 with opposite ends thereof against the supporting portion 25 of the inner tube 24 and the piston 40. The elastic member 50 biases the piston 40 downward to the washer 34 of the plug 30 for sealing the opening 22.

[0020] The buffer member 60 is connected to a bottom of the fixing member 32 of the plug 30. The buffer member 60 has a through hole 62 communicated with the through hole 31 of the plug 30. The buffer member 60 is made of sponge, rubber or other elastic materials. The buffer member 60 is not the necessary component of the toner cartridge 10 of the present invention.

[0021] While outputting the toner, as shown in FIG. 4, a driving member 70 runs through the holes 62, 33 and 35 of the buffer member 60, the fixing member 32 and the washer 34 and moves the piston 40 upwards, when overcomes the force of the elastic member 50. The chamber 21 is not sealed anymore and the toner runs out via an inner hole 72 of the driving member 70.

[0022] The piston 40 is biased by the elastic member 50 to the washer 34 and the protruding portion 42 of the piston 40 is squeezed in the hole 35 of the washer 34. In the meantime, the piston 40 is squeezed in the opening 22 of the housing 20. The chamber 21 is sealed exactly and there is no gap between the piston 40 and the washer 34, which would cause the toner leakage, even after a long time of use. The present invention overcomes the drawback of the conventional one.

[0023] In addition, because the toner cartridge 10 has no problem of leakage, it can repeatedly use. The toner is added into the chamber 21 of the housing 20 directly. While the toner has runs out, user just need to refill the toner and the toner cartridge 10 can work again. No part of the toner cartridge 10 of the present invention has to be dropped after a long time of use that would reduce the cost. In addition, the present invention provides a simple structure that would reduce the cost of fabrication.

PUB. APP. NO. Title
1 20060013620 Toner cartridge and mechanism of installing and removing the same
2 20050286936 Toner cartridge
3 20050281583 Laser printer with toner cartridge
4 20050271425 Image forming apparatus and toner cartridge
5 20050263589 Product distribution management system, toner cartridge distribution management system, and product distribution management method
6 20050249518 Toner cartridge
7 20050217387 Toner evaluation method, toner cartridge, and image forming apparatus
8 20050207786 TONER CARTRIDGE HAVING REDUCED TONER CAPACITY AND METHOD OF USING THE SAME
9 20050196578 Methods and apparatus for replacing a toner cartridge shutter
10 20050163536 Toner Cartridge Having a Sifting Agitator
11 20050163530 Integrated Toner Cartridge with Toner Agitator and Sensing Device
12 20050163514 Toner monitoring network printer system and method of monitoring a toner cartridge thereof
13 20050141915 Developing cartridge, air communication unit of developing cartridge and toner cartridge
14 20050135838 Removable toner cartridge universal adapter
15 20050111887 Toner cartridge and electrophotographic printer employing the same
16 20050105931 TONER CARTRIDGE HOPPER WITH LABYRINTH CHANNELS FOR RELEASING AIR WHILE TRAPPING TONER IN CARTRIDGE
17 20050095016 Toner cartridge with integral MICR font, and methods
18 20050084300 Toner cartridge used with electrophotographic image forming apparatus
19 20050084299 Toner cartridge used with electrophotographic image forming apparatus
20 20050084298 Toner cartridge
21 20050084283 Toner cartridge used with an electrophotographic image forming apparatus
22 20050074258 Seal for toner cartridge assembly
23 20050058469 Remanufactured toner cartridge having modified roller section
24 20050054371 Sealing strip for toner cartridge and method for making same
25 20050026066 Toner for image formation, method of producing the toner, toner container, toner cartridge, process cartridge, and image forming apparatus

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