Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20020090151 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/027,021
Publication dateJul 11, 2002
Filing dateDec 19, 2001
Priority dateAug 13, 1999
Publication number027021, 10027021, US 2002/0090151 A1, US 2002/090151 A1, US 20020090151 A1, US 20020090151A1, US 2002090151 A1, US 2002090151A1, US-A1-20020090151, US-A1-2002090151, US2002/0090151A1, US2002/090151A1, US20020090151 A1, US20020090151A1, US2002090151 A1, US2002090151A1
InventorsJanet Skeens, Brent Anderson
Original AssigneeSkeens Janet L., Anderson Brent G.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Storage bag with one-way air valve
US 20020090151 A1
Abstract
A flexible, evacuable storage bag has a storage portion, an airtight seal, and a one-way valve. The valve includes a strip sandwiched between top and bottom sheets used to make the bag. The strip is bonded along the edges to the top and bottom sheets so as to form passageways extending from the storage portion to outside the bag.
Images(8)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(18)
I claim:
1. A storage bag comprising:
a storage portion, wherein the storage portion includes a top sheet and a bottom sheet bonded along one or more edges to the top sheet;
an airtight seal in a first opening in the storage portion; and
a valve including a valve strip bonded between the top and bottom sheets along a first valve strip edge and along a second valve strip edge to form a first passageway between the valve strip and the top sheet and a second passageway between the valve strip and the bottom sheet, the first and second passageways extending from a second opening into the storage area to outside the bag, the second opening being positioned in a middle portion of the valve strip.
2. The storage bag of claim 1 further comprising an obstruction positioned opposite the second opening and between the top sheet and the valve strip.
3. The storage bag of claim 1 wherein an aspect ratio between a length of the first passageway and a width of the first passageway is approximately 20.
4. The storage bag of claim 1 wherein an aspect ratio between a length of the first passageway and a width of the first passageway is approximately 14.
5. The storage bag of claim 1 wherein an aspect ratio between a length of the first passageway and a width of the first passageway is approximately 10.
6. The storage bag of claim 1 wherein a ratio between a width of the first passageway and a width of the second opening is approximately 2.
7. The storage bag of claim 1 wherein a ratio between a width of the first passageway and a width of the second opening is approximately 0.8.
8. The storage bag of claim 1 wherein a ratio between a width of the first passageway and a width of the second opening is approximately 0.3.
9. The storage bag of claim 1 wherein the valve is positioned opposite the seal.
10. The storage bag of claim 1 wherein the seal is reusable.
11. A storage bag manufacturing process comprising:
bonding along one or more edges a top sheet to a bottom sheet to form a storage portion;
bonding an airtight seal in a first opening of the storage portion; and
bonding between the top sheet and the bottom sheet a valve strip along a first valve strip edge and along an opposite second valve strip edge so as to form a first passageway between the valve strip and the top sheet and a second passageway between the valve strip and the bottom sheet, the first and second passageways extending from a second opening into the storage area, the second opening being positioned at a middle of the valve strip, to outside the bag.
12. The method of claim 11 further comprising bonding the top sheet, the bottom sheet, and the valve strip together to form an obstruction opposite the second opening.
13. A storage bag comprising:
a storage portion, wherein the storage portion includes a top sheet and a bottom sheet bonded along one or more edges to the top sheet;
an airtight seal in a first opening in the storage portion; and
a valve including a valve strip bonded between the top and bottom sheets along a first valve strip edge and along a second valve strip edge to form a first passageway between the valve strip and the top sheet and a second passageway between the valve strip and the bottom sheet, the first and second passageways extending from a second opening into the storage area to outside the bag, an aspect ratio between a length of the first passageway and a width of the first passageway being approximately 20.
14. A storage bag comprising:
a storage portion, wherein the storage portion includes a top sheet and a bottom sheet bonded along one or more edges to the top sheet;
an airtight seal in a first opening in the storage portion; and
a valve including a valve strip bonded between the top and bottom sheets along a first valve strip edge and along a second valve strip edge to form a first passageway between the valve strip and the top sheet and a second passageway between the valve strip and the bottom sheet, the first and second passageways extending from a second opening into the storage area to outside the bag, an aspect ratio between a length of the first passageway and a width of the first passageway being approximately 14.
15. A storage bag comprising:
a storage portion, wherein the storage portion includes a top sheet and a bottom sheet bonded along one or more edges to the top sheet;
an airtight seal in a first opening in the storage portion; and
a valve including a valve strip bonded between the top and bottom sheets along a first valve strip edge and along a second valve strip edge to form a first passageway between the valve strip and the top sheet and a second passageway between the valve strip and the bottom sheet, the first and second passageways extending from a second opening into the storage area to outside the bag, an aspect ratio between a length of the first passageway and a width of the first passageway being approximately 10.
16. A storage bag comprising:
a storage portion, wherein the storage portion includes a top sheet and a bottom sheet bonded along one or more edges to the top sheet;
an airtight seal in a first opening in the storage portion; and
a valve including a valve strip bonded between the top and bottom sheets along a first valve strip edge and along a second valve strip edge to form a first passageway between the valve strip and the top sheet and a second passageway between the valve strip and the bottom sheet, the first and second passageways extending from a second opening into the storage area to outside the bag, a ratio between a width of the first passageway and a width of the second opening being approximately 2.
17. A storage bag comprising:
a storage portion, wherein the storage portion includes a top sheet and a bottom sheet bonded along one or more edges to the top sheet;
an airtight seal in a first opening in the storage portion; and
a valve including a valve strip bonded between the top and bottom sheets along a first valve strip edge and along a second valve strip edge to form a first passageway between the valve strip and the top sheet and a second passageway between the valve strip and the bottom sheet, the first and second passageways extending from a second opening into the storage area to outside the bag, a ratio between a width of the first passageway and a width of the second opening being approximately 0.8.
18. A storage bag comprising:
a storage portion, wherein the storage portion includes a top sheet and a bottom sheet bonded along one or more edges to the top sheet;
an airtight seal in a first opening in the storage portion; and
a valve including a valve strip bonded between the top and bottom sheets along a first valve strip edge and along a second valve strip edge to form a first passageway between the valve strip and the top sheet and a second passageway between the valve strip and the bottom sheet, the first and second passageways extending from a second opening into the storage area to outside the bag, a ratio between a width of the first passageway and a width of the second opening being approximately 0.3.
Description
RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/374,484, filed Aug. 13, 1999, entitled “Storage Bag With One-Way Air Valve” by Janet L. Skeens.

BACKGROUND

[0002] 1. Field of Invention

[0003] The present invention relates to storage bags, and in particular to reusable evacuable storage bags with integral one-way air valves.

[0004] 2. Related Art

[0005] Evacuable flexible storage bags allow a user to compress and subsequently store and carry bulky items, e.g., clothing. Such bags are typically made of plastic and include an airtight seal. After placing one or more items inside the bag, the user partially closes the seal. The user then presses on the bag to force air through the remaining opening in the seal. Once air is forced through the opening, the user fully closes the seal and the stored items remain compressed by ambient air pressure. However, such bags are difficult to use.

[0006] One problem with many current airtight storage bags is that some air may leak back into the bag as the user attempts to close the seal. Another problem is that forces on the bag during compressing tend to fully open the partially closed seal, thus requiring the user to fully close the seal once the bag is compressed. Yet another problem is that many users find it awkward to maintain compression force on the bag while fully closing the seal. Still another problem is low cabin pressure during air travel may cause air inside the bag to expand and open the seal.

[0007] One solution is to equip an airtight storage bag with a one-way air valve. The valve allows the user to force air out of, but prevents air from reentering, the bag. U.S. Pat. No. 5,540,500 discloses a sealed bag including a check valve. The '500 patent discloses a check valve including at least two rectangular plastic films. The plastic films are bonded together to form a flat pipe that extends between the storage bag body and a covering envelope. However, articles placed in the bag may fold the pipe back on itself and block the valve. And the covering envelope is required to protect the valve portion extending from the bag body.

[0008] What is required is a simpler one-way check valve that is more reliable, and is easier and more economical to manufacture.

SUMMARY

[0009] In accordance with the invention, a flexible, evacuable storage bag includes a one-way air valve that has a single strip bonded between the top and bottom sheets used to make the bag. The bag also includes an airtight seal through which the user places one or more items to be stored into the bag.

[0010] The valve strip is sandwiched between the top and bottom sheets. The strip is bonded along the strip's edges to the top and bottom sheets to form two passageways. The passageways extend from the storage portion of the bag to the outside.

[0011] The user may, for example, insert one or more items to be stored through the opening and then closes the airtight seal. The user then puts pressure on the bag to force air from a storage portion through the valve to the outside. Once air has been evacuated from the bag, ambient pressure holds the top and bottom sheets against the valve strip to prevent air from returning to the bag.

[0012] In some embodiments the valve configuration is such that the opening into the storage area is near an end of the valve strip. In other embodiments the opening into the storage area is in a middle portion of the valve strip.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013]FIG. 1 is a plan view of an embodiment of the invention.

[0014]FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of an embodiment of the invention.

[0015]FIGS. 3a, 3 b, and 3 c are perspective views showing one method of using the invention.

[0016]FIG. 4 is a plan view of an embodiment of a valve.

[0017]FIG. 5 is a plan view of a second embodiment of a valve.

[0018]FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view of the valve embodiment shown in FIG. 5.

[0019]FIG. 7 is a plan view of a third embodiment of a valve.

[0020]FIG. 8 is an exploded perspective view of the valve embodiment shown in FIG. 7.

[0021]FIG. 9 is a plan view of a fourth embodiment of a valve.

[0022]FIG. 10 is an exploded perspective view of the valve embodiment shown in FIG. 9.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0023]FIG. 1 is a plan view of a flexible storage bag 10 in accordance with the invention. As shown, bag 10 has a storage portion 12 formed by bonding two flexible plastic sheets along edges 13 a, 13 b, and 13 c. FIG. 1 shows bag 10 as rectangular, although other embodiments may have other shapes. Airtight seal 14 is placed in opening 15 between the two sheets. When seal 14 is open, a user places one or more items to be stored through opening 15 into storage portion 12 and then closes seal 14. A valve 16 allows air to pass in one direction from storage portion 12 to outside bag 10. As shown, valve 16 is positioned along edge 13 c of storage portion 12, opposite seal 14, but in other embodiments valve 16 may be placed along another edge of storage portion 12.

[0024]FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of bag 10. As shown, bag 10 includes a top sheet 20 and a bottom sheet 22. In one embodiment, sheets 20 and 22 are each a layer of conventional extruded low density polyethylene sandwiched between a conventional layer of nylon sheeting and a conventional layer of linear low density polyethylene. Other embodiments may use different materials. As described above, sheets 20 and 22 are bonded along edges 13 a, 13 b, and 13 c. In one embodiment bonding is done using conventional resistive heating. Other embodiments may use different bonding methods.

[0025] Bag 10 also includes top portion 24 and bottom portion 26 of airtight seal 14. Top portion 24 is bonded to top sheet 20 using conventional resistive heating. Similarly, bottom portion 26 is bonded to bottom sheet 22 using resistive heating. Other bonding methods may be used. In one embodiment seal 14 is a conventional interlocking resealable airtight fastener. The fastener is manufactured by MiniGrip ZIP-PAK, an ITW Company, with a marketing office located at 27001 La Plaz, Suite 400, Mission Viejo Calif. 92691. Other embodiments may use other airtight seals that are either resealable or permanent.

[0026]FIG. 2 shows valve strip 28 placed between top sheet 20 and bottom sheet 22. In one embodiment valve strip 28 is a single sheet of conventional blended low density polyethylene with high slip. Other embodiments may use different materials.

[0027] As shown, valve strip 28 is bonded between top sheet 20 and bottom sheet 22 along edges 29 a and 29 b. In one embodiment bonding is done using conventional resistive heating. Other embodiments may use different bonding methods. Valve strip 28 is positioned so that after bonding edges 29 a and 29 b two passageways are created. The top passageway is between top sheet 20 and valve strip 28. The bottom passageway is between bottom sheet 22 and valve strip 28. As shown, bonded side 29 b of valve strip 28 is coincident with bonded bottom edges 13 c of top sheet 20 and bottom sheet 22. In the embodiment shown, strip 28 extends from edge 13 a to edge 13 b. In other embodiments strip 28 may be shortened so as not to reach either or both edges 13 a or 13 b.

[0028] Referring again to FIG. 1, each unique top and bottom passageway 30 a and 30 b (hidden behind passageway 30 a), respectively, has at one end an opening 31 into storage portion 12 and at the other end an opening 32 to the environment outside bag 10. In one embodiment each passageway has a width W1 of 1.00 inches. And in one embodiment the width W2 of openings 31 and 32 are each 1.50 inches. Other embodiments may use other dimensions for widths W1 and W2. The widths of openings 31 and 32 need not be identical.

[0029] Top sheet 20 and bottom sheet 22 normally contact the surface of valve strip 28 when no air or other substance (e.g., water) is in either passageway. When airtight seal 14 is closed and the pressure inside storage portion 12 is made greater than the ambient pressure, air passes through openings 31, travels along passageways 30 a and 30 b, and exits through openings 32. The ambient pressure (pressure of the atmosphere surrounding the bag) then closes passageways 30 a and 30 b by pressing top sheet 20 and bottom sheet 22 against valve strip 28. Air is therefore prevented from returning to storage portion 12.

[0030]FIGS. 3a-3 c illustrate one use of the present invention.

[0031] As shown in FIG. 3a, a user opens seal 14 and places an item to be stored through opening 15 into storage portion 12. The user then closes bag 10 by making seal 14 airtight, as depicted in FIG. 3b. Next, the user expels air by rolling, beginning at an edge opposite valve 16, bag 10 towards valve 16. FIG. 3c shows that as the user rolls, air as represented by the arrows passes from storage portion 12 through openings 31, along the passages, and exits through openings 32. The user then unrolls the bag containing the stored item. Storage portion 12 remains partially evacuated and ambient air pressure prevents air from returning through the passages.

[0032]FIG. 4 is a plan view of a second valve embodiment. The structure of this embodiment is similar to the structure of the valve shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, length L1 of the passageways 40 from storage area 42 to outside the bag is approximately 14- inches. The width W3 of passageways 40 is approximately 1 inch. Thus the aspect ratio (length:width) of passageways 40 is approximately 14.25. The width W4 of opening 44 between storage area 42 with passageways 40 is approximately 1- inches. The ratio between the widths of passageways 40 and opening 44 (W3:W4) is approximately 0.8. The width W5 of opening 46 between passageways 40 and the outside environment is approximately 1- inches. The ratio between the widths of passageways 40 and opening 46 (W3:W5) is approximately 0.67.

[0033]FIG. 5 is a plan view of a third valve embodiment. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 5, valve strip 50 is 1- inches wide, and so an unused portion of the valve strip extends into storage area 52. In other embodiments, a narrower valve strip may be used to prevent the unused portion from extending into the storage area. Length L2 of passageways 54 is approximately 10-⅛ inches, and width W6 of passageways 54 is approximately inch. Thus the aspect ratio of passageways 54 is approximately 20.25. The width W7 of opening 56 between storage area 52 and passageways 54 is approximately inch, so that the ratio between the widths of passageways 54 and opening 56 (W6:W7) is approximately 2.00. The width W8 of opening 58 between passageways 54 and the outside environment is approximately inches, so that the ratio between the widths of passageways 54 and opening 58 (W6:W8) is approximately 0.67.

[0034]FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view of the valve embodiment shown in FIG. 5. Valve strip 50 is sandwiched and conventionally heat bonded between bottom sheet 60 and top sheet 62. The three sheets 50, 60, 62 are bonded at the shaded regions 64 as shown in FIG. 6.

[0035]FIG. 7 is a plan view of a fourth valve embodiment. As shown in FIG. 7, opening 70 between storage area 72 and the two sets of passageways 74 and 76 is positioned in the middle of valve strip 78. Length L3 of passageways 74 and 76 is approximately 10 inches, and width W9 of passageways 74 and 76 is approximately 1 inch. Thus the aspect ratio of passageways 74 and 76 is approximately 10.00. The width W10 of opening 70 is approximately 3 inches, so that the ratio between the widths W9 and width W10 (W9:W10) is approximately 0.33. The widths W11 of openings 80 and 82 between passageways 74 and 76 and the outside environment, respectively, are approximately 1 inch. Thus the ratio between the widths W9 and W11 (W9:W11) is approximately 1.00.

[0036]FIG. 8 is an exploded perspective view of the valve embodiment shown in FIG. 7. Valve strip 78 is sandwiched and conventionally heat bonded between bottom sheet 84 and top sheet 86. The three sheets 78, 84, 86 are bonded at the shaded regions 88 as shown in FIG. 8.

[0037]FIG. 9 is a plan view of a fifth valve embodiment. The structure of the valve shown in FIG. 9 is similar to the structure of the valve shown in FIG. 7, except that an obstruction 90 is positioned to partially block opening 70. As shown in FIG. 9, obstruction 90 is a conventionally heat bonded semicircular line having radius R. Other embodiments may use different shapes for the obstruction. For the embodiment shown in FIG. 9, the width of opening 70 is approximately 3 inches, and radius R is also approximately 3 inches. Other embodiments may use other dimensions. In some embodiments, obstruction 90 improves valve performance.

[0038]FIG. 10 is an exploded perspective view of the valve embodiment shown in FIG. 9. Valve strip 92 is sandwiched and conventionally heat bonded between bottom sheet 94 and top sheet 96. The three sheets 92, 94, 96 are bonded at the shaded regions 98 as shown in FIG. 10.

[0039] The dimensions given above are illustrative. In addition, some variations in the dimensions will occur during production due to manufacturing tolerances, and such variations are acceptable for proper operation and fall within the scope of the claims. Persons skilled in the art will understand that many variations of the present invention are possible. The invention is therefore limited only by the scope of the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8066433Mar 14, 2008Nov 29, 2011Pro-Mart Industries, Inc.Valve for vacuum storage bag
US8961014 *Oct 21, 2011Feb 24, 2015S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.Compressible pouch with multiple collapsible channels across bottom
US20130101236 *Oct 21, 2011Apr 25, 2013Illinois Tool Works Inc.Compressible Pouch with Multiple Collapsible Channels Across Bottom
WO2004028922A2 *Sep 29, 2003Apr 8, 2004Mark D JamisonPressure relief valve for a flexible pouch
WO2011023692A1 *Aug 24, 2010Mar 3, 2011Basf SeEcological paper packaging for long-lasting insecticidal mosquito nets
WO2011153616A1 *Jun 7, 2011Dec 15, 2011Peel Plastic Products LimitedBag with structure for avoiding bricking appearance
Classifications
U.S. Classification383/100, 206/524.8, 383/44, 493/213
International ClassificationB65D81/20, B65D33/01
Cooperative ClassificationB65D81/2007, B65D33/01
European ClassificationB65D33/01
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 27, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: NEW WEST PRODUCTS, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ANDERSON, BRENT G.;REEL/FRAME:012660/0001
Effective date: 20011221
Jan 8, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:NEW WEST PRODUCTS, INC.;REEL/FRAME:013638/0217
Effective date: 20021031
Sep 6, 2012ASAssignment
Effective date: 20120817
Owner name: S.C. JOHNSON & SON, INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS INC.;REEL/FRAME:028908/0596