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Publication numberUS20020096450 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/764,260
Publication dateJul 25, 2002
Filing dateJan 19, 2001
Priority dateJan 19, 2001
Publication number09764260, 764260, US 2002/0096450 A1, US 2002/096450 A1, US 20020096450 A1, US 20020096450A1, US 2002096450 A1, US 2002096450A1, US-A1-20020096450, US-A1-2002096450, US2002/0096450A1, US2002/096450A1, US20020096450 A1, US20020096450A1, US2002096450 A1, US2002096450A1
InventorsDale Garst
Original AssigneeDale Garst
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tapered stackable can
US 20020096450 A1
Abstract
The invention is a can with a full taper on the sidewalls, as opposed to a straight side or expanded shoulder, thereby enabling the cans to be nested with less distance between cans. To prevent the cans from wedging together or locking, stand-offs in the form of inwardly indented ribs or bubbles are incorporated into the bottom surface of the can. In one embodiment, there are two ribs transecting the bottom of the can. The two ribs are off-center, so that when two adjacent cans within a nested stack are rotated 180 from each other, the ribs in the upper can are not in alignment with the ribs in the lower can. The inward facing ribs in the lower can thus contact the flat outer surface of the upper can so as to maintain space between the nested cans and prevent locking or wedging. In a second embodiment, there are six bubbles in two rows of three on the bottom of the can. In one row, the middle bubble faces outward and the two side bubbles face inward. In the other row, the middle bubble faces inward and the two side bubbles face outward. When two adjacent cans within a nested stack are rotated 180 from each other, the inner-facing bubbles in one row of the lower can contact the outer-facing bubbles of the opposite row of the upper can. This contact between the opposing bubbles maintains space between the nested cans and prevents locking or wedging.
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Claims(5)
I claim:
1. A nestable can with a closed lower end and an open upper end, said can comprising:
a full taper on the four sidewalls, as opposed to a straight side or expanded shoulder, thereby enabling the cans to be nested with less distance between the cans;
standoffs in the form of two inward facing ribs that transect the bottom surface of the can, said ribs being off-center or non-symmetrical so that when two adjacent cans within a nested stack are rotated 180 relative to each other, the ribs in the lower can will not be in alignment with the ribs in the upper can and will thus contact the flat outer surface of the upper can so as to maintain space between the adjacent nested cans and prevent locking or wedging.
2. A nestable can with a closed lower end and an open upper end, said can comprising:
a full taper on the four sidewalls, as opposed to a straight side or expanded shoulder, thereby enabling the cans to be nested with less distance between the cans;
standoffs in the form of multiple bubbles in two or more rows on the bottom surface of the can, a first said row having peripheral bubbles facing outward with alternating bubbles facing inward and outward, a second row having peripheral bubbles facing inward and alternating bubbles facing outward and inward, and adjacent cans within a nested stack rotated 180 from each other, the inward-facing bubbles in the lower can contacting the outward-facing bubbles of the upper can, said contacting between the opposing bubbles serving to maintain space between the adjacent nested cans and prevent locking or wedging.
3. A method of nesting cans with a closed lower end and an open upper end for preventing locking or wedging between adjacent cans, said method comprising:
providing the four sidewalls of the can with a straight taper;
incorporating two off-center inward facing ribs into the bottom surface of the can;
rotating each can within a nested stack of such cans 180 relative to the previous can in the nested stack.
4. A method of nesting cans with a closed lower end and an open upper end for preventing locking or wedging between adjacent cans, said method comprising:
providing the four sidewalls of the can with a straight taper;
incorporating multiple bubbles in two or more rows of a bottom surface of the can, the first said row having peripheral bubbles facing outward and alternating bubbles facing inward and outward, the second said row having peripheral bubbles facing inward and alternating bubbles facing outward and inward;
rotating each can within a nested stack of such cans 180 relative to the previous can in the nested stack.
5. A method of nesting cans so as to prevent locking or wedging between adjacent cans, said cans having a closed lower end and an open upper end and having four sidewalls with a straight taper, said method comprising:
using a tool to incorporate multiple bubbles in two or more rows into a bottom surface of a first can, a first said row having peripheral bubbles facing outward and alternate bubbles facing inward and outward, a second row having the peripheral bubbles facing inward and alternating bubbles facing outward and inward;
gagging the tool;
using the gagged tool to incorporate multiple bubbles in two or more rows into a bottom surface of a second can, a first row having the peripheral bubbles facing inward and alternating bubbles facing outward, a second row having peripheral bubbles facing outward and alternate bubbles facing inward and outward;
placing the second can within the first can without rotating either can relative to the other.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Manufacturers of cans ship their empty cans to, for example, food packaging companies, where the cans are filled with the food that they are to contain. When the can manufacturer ships his empty cans, it becomes less expensive for him to do so as the volume taken up by the cans decreases. The can manufacturer thus has incentive to nest the empty cans as closely together as possible for shipping purposes. Adjacent cans nested together too closely, however, may stick or wedge to each other. Such sticking causes problems for the food packaging company's automated machines that try to separate the cans.

[0002] The prior art generally has kept adjacent cans from nesting too closely together via separator means such as an expanded shoulder or a step lower down on the inner surfaces of the can's sidewalls. The prior art suffers from problems of the adjacent cans not nesting together closely enough, or the separator means being such that they adversely affect the structural integrity of the can, or the separator means being such that the cost of manufacturing the can is increased.

[0003] The present invention solves problems remaining in the prior art.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The present invention provides a can that can be nested with minimal space between cans and yet with no locking or sticking between adjacent nested cans.

[0005] A nestable can with a closed lower end and an open upper end comprises a full taper on the four sidewalls, as opposed to a straight side or expanded shoulder, thereby enabling the cans to be nested with less distance between the cans. The bottom end of the can has two inward facing ribs that transect the bottom surface of the can. The ribs are off-center so that when two adjacent cans within a nested stack are rotated 180 from each other, the ribs in the lower can will not be in alignment with the ribs in the upper can and will contact the flat bottom end of the upper can. The ribs thus maintain space between the adjacent nested cans and prevent locking or wedging.

[0006] In an alternate embodiment of the invention, a nestable can with a closed lower end and an open upper end comprises a full taper on the four sidewalls. The lower end of the can has standoffs in the form of six bubbles in two rows of three. In the first row, the two peripheral bubbles face outward and the one center bubble faces inward. In the second row the two peripheral bubbles face inward and the one center bubble faces outward. When two adjacent cans within a nested stack are rotated 180 from each other, the three inward-facing bubbles in the lower can will contact the three outward-facing bubbles of the upper can. The bubbles thus maintain space between the adjacent nested cans and prevent locking or wedging.

[0007] One way of forming the cans uses a tool to incorporate six bubbles in two rows of three into the bottom surface of a first can. The first row has the two peripheral bubbles face outward and the one center bubble face inward, while the second row has the two peripheral bubbles face inward and the one center bubble face outward.

[0008] The tool is then gagged.

[0009] The gagged tool incorporates six bubbles in two rows of three into the bottom surface of a second can. The first row has the two peripheral bubbles face inward and the one center bubble face outward. The second row has the two peripheral bubbles face outward and the one center bubble face inward.

[0010] One of the cans is then nested within the other without rotating either can relative to the other.

[0011] These and other objects and features of the invention are apparent in the disclosure, which includes the above and ongoing written specification, with the claims and drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012]FIG. 1 is a top view of a preferred embodiment of the can.

[0013]FIG. 2 is a side view of the nested can embodiments shown in FIG. 1.

[0014]FIG. 3 is a top view of a second preferred embodiment of the can.

[0015]FIG. 4 is a side view of the nested can embodiments shown in FIG. 3.

[0016]FIG. 5 is a three dimensional view of the can embodiment shown in FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0017] In the drawings, like reference characters designate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views. A nestable can is generally represented by the numeral 1.

[0018] In accordance with the invention, the can preferably comprises four sidewalls 3 that possess a straight inward taper 4 from the top 5 to the closed bottom 7 of the can. The straight taper 4 of the sidewalls 3 allows the cans to be nested closely together.

[0019] The bottom 7 of the can is of a generally rectangular shape and has two primary dimensions, length and width. The bottom 7 is transected by two inward facing ribs 9 that run in the width dimension of the can, i.e. are perpendicular to the length dimension of the can, and are off-center with respect to the length dimension of the can.

[0020] Because the ribs 9 are off-center with respect to the length dimension of the can, when two cans 11 and 13 are rotated 180 relative to each other and are nested together such that can 11 is the lower of the two cans, the inward facing ribs 9 of can 11 will contact the flat bottom surface 7 of the upper can 13. The ribs thus separate the two nested cans 11 and 13 from each other by a distance that is equal to the thickness of the ribs.

[0021] While the straight taper 4 of the sidewalls 3 allows the cans 11 and 13 to nest closely together, the separation that the ribs 9 maintain between the two nested cans 11 and 13 prevents the two cans from becoming wedged together.

[0022] In an alternate preferred embodiment 2 of the can, the bottom surface 7 of the can has six bubbles in two rows, 15 and 17, with three bubbles in each row. In the first row 15 the peripheral two bubbles 19 and 21 face inward, and the center bubble 20 faces outward. In the second row 17 the peripheral two bubbles 23 and 25 face outward, and the center bubble 24 faces inward.

[0023] Because the bubbles are configured in this fashion, when two cans 27 and 29 are rotated 180 relative to each other and are nested together such that can 27 is the lower of the two cans, the three inward facing bubbles 19, 21, and 24, of the lower can 27 will contact the three outward facing bubbles 20, 23, and 25, of the upper can 29. The bubbles thus separate two nested cans 27 and 29 from each other by a distance that is equal to twice the thickness of the bubbles.

[0024] While the straight taper 4 of the sidewalls 3 allows the cans 27 and 29 to nest closely together, the separation that the bubbles maintain between the two nested cans 27 and 29 prevents the two cans from becoming wedged together.

[0025] In other embodiments of the invention, the tools are gagged upon each reciprocation so that the same bubbles or ribs are formed alternately in or out. Alternately, the tools are gagged so that ribs are formed in one can in one location and then the other location in the next can.

[0026] While the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, modifications and variations of the invention may be constructed without departing from the scope of the invention, which is defined in the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8561823Jun 13, 2012Oct 22, 2013Ultra Green Packaging, Inc.Food service container
US8636168Oct 16, 2012Jan 28, 2014Ultra Green Packaging. Inc.Biodegradable food service container
WO2005085095A1 *Mar 4, 2005Sep 15, 2005Dijkstra WijbeA stack of container assemblies
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/516
International ClassificationB65D21/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65D21/0233
European ClassificationB65D21/02F
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 19, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: M.S. WILLETT, INC., MARYLAND
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:GARST, DALE;REEL/FRAME:011477/0576
Effective date: 20001228