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Publication numberUS20020139489 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/736,063
Publication dateOct 3, 2002
Filing dateDec 13, 2000
Priority dateDec 13, 2000
Publication number09736063, 736063, US 2002/0139489 A1, US 2002/139489 A1, US 20020139489 A1, US 20020139489A1, US 2002139489 A1, US 2002139489A1, US-A1-20020139489, US-A1-2002139489, US2002/0139489A1, US2002/139489A1, US20020139489 A1, US20020139489A1, US2002139489 A1, US2002139489A1
InventorsBruce Grogg
Original AssigneeGrogg Bruce Edward
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus and method for applying labels to compact discs
US 20020139489 A1
Abstract
The present invention is directed to an apparatus and method for applying adhesive labels of varying shapes and sizes to compact discs that are cut into varying shapes and sizes. The apparatus of the present invention comprises a base, a center rod, at least two positioning members on each side of the center rod, and a deformable element having a raised top surface and a substantially flat bottom surface, wherein the deformable element is fitted over the rod and between and adjacent to the positioning members. The shape and configuration of the deformable element facilitates the smooth and even application of the label to the compact disc when the label is applied to the compact disc. The method of the present invention comprises the steps of providing the apparatus of the present invention; aligning and positioning a label with the adhesive side up over the deformable element between the positioning members; aligning and positioning the compact disc over the label and between the positioning members; pressing the positioned compact disc against the adhesive surface of the label and against the deformable element such that the deformable element deforms and causes the label to adhere to the compact disc in a smooth, even motion giving the label a smooth, even appearance on the compact disc; and removing the compact disc from the apparatus.
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Claims(20)
What is claimed is:
1. An apparatus for applying a label to a compact disc, the apparatus comprising:
a) a base having a top surface and a bottom surface;
b) a rod having a top end, a bottom end, and a side, wherein the bottom end of the rod is coupled to a center portion on the top surface of the base so that the rod protrudes upwardly from the base;
c) at least two positioning members, each positioning member having an outer surface, an inner surface, a top end, and a bottom end, wherein the bottom end of each of the positioning members is coupled to the top surface of the base so that the positioning members protrude upwardly from the base and are spaced apart from each other on each side of the rod, and further wherein the positioning members are adapted to position and retain the label and the compact disc in place between the positioning members when the label is applied to the compact disc; and,
d) a deformable element having a center aperture, a top surface having a raised portion, and a bottom surface being substantially flat, wherein the center aperture of the deformable element is adapted to fit over the rod and the deformable element is adapted to fit between and adjacent to the inner surfaces of the positioning members, and further wherein the shape and configuration of the deformable element facilitates the smooth and even application of the label to the compact disc when the label is applied to the compact disc.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the base is substantially rectangular in shape.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the positioning members are substantially rectangular in shape.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the base, rod, and positioning members comprise a single unitary piece.
5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the base, rod, and positioning members are comprised of a polypropylene plastic.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the rod has an outer diameter and the aperture of the deformable element has an inner diameter, and wherein the inner diameter is greater than the outer diameter of the rod.
7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein the label has an aperture having an inner diameter and the compact disc has an aperture having an inner diameter, and wherein the inner diameters of the label and compact disc are both greater than the outer diameter of the rod.
8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the deformable element is removable.
9. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the deformable element is comprised of polyurethane foam.
10. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the raised portion of the deformable element is at a central portion of the deformable element and wherein the raised portion is substantially curved upwardly.
11. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the deformable element, the label, and the compact disc are all substantially rectangular in shape, wherein one set of opposing sides is substantially straight and another set of opposing sides is curved outwardly.
12. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the deformable element, the label, and the compact disc are all rectangular in shape.
13. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the deformable element, the label, and the compact disc are all square in shape.
14. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the deformable element, the label, and the compact disc are all of a miniature round shape.
15. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the deformable element, the label, and the compact disc are all substantially the same shape and configuration.
16. An apparatus for applying a label with a center aperture to a shaped compact disc with a center aperture, the apparatus comprising:
a) a substantially rectangular base having a top surface, a bottom surface and sides;
b) a substantially cylindrical rod having a top end, a bottom end, and a continuous side, wherein the bottom end of the rod is coupled to a center portion on the top surface of the base so that the rod protrudes upwardly from the base;
c) a first positioning member and a second positioning member, the positioning members having an outer surface, an inner surface, a top end, a bottom end, and sides, wherein the bottom end of each of the positioning members is coupled to the top surface of the base so that the positioning members protrude upwardly from the base and are spaced apart from each other on each side of the rod, and further wherein the positioning members are adapted to position and retain the label and the compact disc in place between the inner surfaces of the positioning members when the label is applied to the compact disc; and,
d) a foam element having a center aperture, a curved top surface and a substantially flat bottom surface, wherein the center aperture of the deformable element is adapted to fit-over the rod, and wherein the deformable element is adapted to fit between and adjacent to the inner surfaces of the positioning members, and further wherein the shape and configuration of the deformable element facilitates the smooth and even application of the label to the compact disc when the label is applied to the compact disc in a manner that the compact disc is pressed down onto the label and onto the deformable element.
17. A method for applying a label having an adhesive side and a nonadhesive side to a compact disc having a first printable, nonreadable side and a second recording, readable side comprising the steps of:
a) providing the apparatus of claim 1;
b) aligning the label having a center aperture over the deformable element so that the label and the deformable element are in parallel alignment;
c) placing the center aperture of the label over the rod and positioning the label over the deformable element and between the positioning members so that the nonadhesive side of the label is in contact with the raised portion of the top surface of the deformable element and the adhesive side of the label faces upward;
d) aligning the compact disc having a center aperture over the label so that the compact disc and the label are in parallel alignment;
e) placing the center aperture of the compact disc over the rod and positioning the compact disc over the label and between the positioning members so that the first side of the compact disc is in contact with the adhesive side of the label and the second side of the compact disc faces upward;
f) pressing the positioned compact disc against the adhesive surface of the label and against the deformable element such that the deformable element compresses from the raised portion outwardly to its end portions and causes the label to adhere to the compact disc in a smooth, even motion giving the label a smooth, even appearance on the compact disc; and,
g) removing the labeled compact disc from the apparatus.
18. The method of claim 17 wherein the deformable element, the label, and the compact disc are all substantially rectangular in shape, wherein one set of opposing sides is substantially straight and another set of opposing sides is curved outwardly.
19. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein the deformable element, the label, and the compact disc are all non-round in shape.
20. The apparatus of claim 17 wherein the deformable element, the label, and the compact disc are all of a miniature round shape.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention is directed to an apparatus and method for applying labels to compact discs. More particularly, the present invention is directed to a label applicator apparatus and method for applying adhesive labels of varying shapes and sizes to compact discs that are cut into varying shapes and sizes. The invention can be used with compact disc recordables (CDRs), compact disc rewritables (CDRWs), compact disc read only memory (CD-ROMs), digital video discs (DVDs), digital video disc recordables (DVDRs), and digital video disc rewritables (DVDRWs).

[0002] In order to identify the content or nature of the information on a particular compact disc, compact disc manufacturers and owners typically apply identifying means to the compact disc. Marking with a writing instrument directly on a compact disc can damage the disc and is not feasible for the sale of commercial discs sold in large quantities. Thus, the preferred method in the industry for identifying the content of a compact disc is to apply an adhesive label with the identifying information to the disc. However, labeling of compact discs may be problematic if the label is affixed to or positioned on the disc improperly causing the disc to become physically unbalanced when it plays or reads and resulting in malfunctions to the disc or complete failure of the disc.

[0003] Known devices for applying labels to compact discs are typically designed for applying round labels to round compact discs only and are not designed for applying non-round labels to non-round compact discs. Thus, known devices that are capable of applying only round labels to only round compact discs have the disadvantage that they are limited in their applications.

[0004] In addition, these known devices have other disadvantages. A known device for applying labels to round compact discs is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,783,033 to Grossman. This patent discloses a device that uses a movable piston assembly to apply a label to a compact disc. However, a problem with the device of this patent is that the use of movable parts increases the complexity of the device and increases the costs of manufacturing the device. In addition, there are no positioning or retaining means for retaining the sides of the compact disc or the sides of the label in place as the label is being applied to the disc. This can result in movement of the disc or label during application of the label and can cause creases or air bubbles in the label or improper placement of the label on the compact disc, which can further result in malfunctions to the disc.

[0005] Another known label applicator is disclosed in French Patent No. 2763913. This patent discloses a device for adjusting and affixing an adhesive label onto a compact disc and includes a foam element inserted into a recessed portion of a circular base. However, a problem with the device of this patent is that the foam element is partially inserted in and affixed to the base and is not cut to be substantially the same size and shape as the label and compact disc, that is, it is in contact with only the center of the disc. The foam element in this patent is not removable, is not designed to facilitate a smooth and even application of the label to the compact disc, and is not designed to prevent or minimize the formation of air bubbles and creases that may form on the label during the application process. Such air bubbles and creases are not aesthetically pleasing and may cause balancing problems when the compact disc is played or read.

[0006] Accordingly, there is a need for a new and improved apparatus and method for applying labels to compact discs which overcomes and avoids the problems associated with known label applicators and methods.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The present invention satisfies all of these needs as well as provides a unique and nonobvious apparatus and method for applying labels to shaped compact discs. None of the known label applicators and methods provides all of the numerous advantages of the present invention. It is an aspect of the present invention to provide an apparatus and method designed to apply both non-round and round labels of varying shapes and sizes to both non-round and round compact discs of varying shapes and sizes, i.e., shaped compact discs.

[0008] It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide an apparatus and method for applying labels to compact discs that requires no moving or electrical parts and thus decreases the costs of manufacturing and increases the simplicity of use and maintenance.

[0009] It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide an apparatus and method that is inexpensive and simple to manufacture, that is sturdy and not prone to damage in handling or use, that prevents damage to the compact disc, and that is manually operable and easy to use.

[0010] It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide an apparatus and method that includes positioning and retaining means for accurately aligning the label and the compact disc during label application and for securely retaining the compact disc in a substantially fixed position during label application to prevent or minimize the occurrence of creases in the label or improper application of the label.

[0011] It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide an apparatus and method that uses a deformable element to provide a smooth and even application of the label to the compact disc and that prevents or minimizes the occurrence of air bubbles in the label that may form during the application process and that prevents or minimizes improper application of the label.

[0012] It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide an apparatus and method that uses a deformable element that may be removed and replaced with a similar or different deformable element, for example, if the deformable element becomes worn out or a different size deformable element is desired.

[0013] It is a further aspect of the present invention to provide an apparatus and method that provides for easy removal and immediate use of the compact disc after it is labeled.

[0014] An apparatus for applying a label to a compact disc is disclosed. The apparatus comprises a base having a top surface and a bottom surface. The apparatus further comprises a rod having a top end, a bottom end, and a side, wherein the bottom end of the rod is coupled to a center portion on the top surface of the base so that the rod protrudes upwardly from the base. The apparatus further comprises at least two positioning members each having an outer surface, an inner surface, a top end, and a bottom end. The bottom end of each of the positioning members is coupled to the top surface of the base so that the positioning members protrude upwardly from the base and are spaced apart from each other on each side of the rod. The positioning members are adapted to position and retain the label and the compact disc in place between the positioning members. The apparatus further comprises a deformable element having a center aperture, a raised top surface, and a substantially flat bottom surface, wherein the center aperture of the deformable element is adapted to fit over the rod and the deformable element is adapted to fit between and adjacent to the positioning members. The shape and configuration of the deformable element facilitates the smooth and even application of the label to the compact disc when the label is applied to the compact disc.

[0015] In one version of the present invention, the deformable element, the label, and the compact disc are all substantially rectangular in shape, that is, for purposes of the present invention, in the shape of a compact disc business card. The substantially rectangular shape has a first pair of opposite sides that are substantially straight and a second pair of opposite sides that are curved outwardly. In other versions of the present invention, the deformable element, the label, and the compact disc may be rectangular in shape, square in shape, of a miniature round shape, or various other shapes and configurations. In all of the versions of the present invention, the top surface of the deformable element, no matter what the shape, has a raised portion that facilitates the smooth, even application of the label to the compact disc when the compact disc is pressed against the label and is pressed against the deformable element.

[0016] A method is also disclosed for applying a label, preferably having an adhesive side and a nonadhesive side, to a compact disc having a first side which is the printable and nonreadable side and a second side which is the recording and readable side. The method comprises the steps of: providing the apparatus of the present invention; aligning the label having a center aperture over the deformable element so that the label and the deformable element are in parallel alignment; placing the center aperture of the label over the rod and positioning the label over the deformable element and between the positioning members so that the nonadhesive side of the label is in contact with the raised central portion of the top surface of the deformable element and the adhesive side of the label faces upward; aligning the compact disc having a center aperture over the label so that the compact disc and the label are in parallel alignment; placing the center aperture of the compact disc over the rod and positioning the compact disc over the label and between the positioning members so that the first side of the compact disc is in contact with the adhesive side of the label and the second side of the compact disc faces upward; pressing the positioned compact disc against the adhesive surface of the label and against the deformable element, such that the deformable element compresses from a center curved portion outwardly to its end portions and causes the label to adhere to the compact disc in a smooth, even motion giving the label a smooth, even appearance on the compact disc; and, removing the labeled compact disc from the apparatus.

[0017] These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become better understood from the following drawings, description, and appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0018]FIG. 1 is an exploded view of one version of the label applicator apparatus of the present invention;

[0019]FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the label applicator of FIG. 1;

[0020]FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the label applicator in the direction of line 3-3 of FIG.2;

[0021]FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of the label applicator in progression from FIG. 3;

[0022]FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the label applicator in the direction of line 5-5 of FIG. 2;

[0023]FIG. 6 is an exploded view of another version of the label applicator of the present invention;

[0024]FIG. 7 is an exploded view of another version of the label applicator of the present invention; and,

[0025]FIG. 8 is an exploded view of another version of the label applicator of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0026] The present invention is directed to a label applicator apparatus and method having a combination of unique features. The apparatus and method of the present invention is used to applying labels of varying shapes and sizes to compact discs that are cut into varying shapes and sizes. In particular, the invention can be used with compact disc recordables (CDRs), compact disc rewritables (CDRWs), compact disc read only memory (CD-ROMs), digital video discs (DVDs), digital video disc recordables (DVDRs), digital video disc rewritables (DVDRWs), and other types of compact discs and digital video discs.

[0027] FIGS. 1-5 show a first version of the label applicator apparatus of the present invention. FIG. 1 shows an exploded view of a label applicator apparatus 10 of the present invention. The label applicator apparatus 10 comprises abase 12. The base 12 is preferably a rigid support formed in a substantially rectangular shape. However, it is contemplated that the base may be in the form of other shapes as may be appropriate to the shape of the selected compact disc, digital video disc, or other type of disc desired and to the shape of the label used. The base 12 has a top surface 14, a bottom surface 16, and sides 18. Preferably, the top surface 14 and bottom surface 16 are substantially planar or flat. The bottom surface 16 of the base may optionally include non-skid elements (not shown) affixed to the bottom surface 16 to prevent or minimize unwanted slipping or sliding of the base 12 along a support surface (not shown) such as a table top when the apparatus is in use. Preferably, the base 12 has a width in the range of from about 2.5 inches to about 6 inches. Preferably the base 12 has a length in the range from about 3 inches to about 6 inches. Preferably the base 12 has a thickness in the range from about 0.1 inch to about 0.5 inch. Preferably, the base 12 is comprised of plastic, wood, metal, or another suitable material. More preferably, the base 12 is comprised of a rigid, sturdy plastic material, such as polypropylene. The polypropylene plastic material for the base is available from Ultratek, Inc. of South Jordan, Utah. The material used with the present invention provides such advantages as lower manufacturing costs and simple fabrication.

[0028] As shown in FIG. 1, the apparatus 10 further comprises a rod 20, preferably positioned on the center of the base 12. Preferably, the rod is substantially cylindrical in shape. However, other suitable shapes may be used. The rod 20 comprises a top end 22, a bottom end 24 (see FIG. 3), and a side surface 26. Preferably, the bottom end 24 of the rod 20 is coupled to the center of the top surface 14 of the base 12. The rod 20 preferably has an outer diameter in the range of from about inch to about ⅝ inches. The rod 20 preferably has a height in the range of from about 0.75 inch to about 2 inches. The rod 20 is preferably solid and is comprised of plastic, wood, metal or another suitable material. More preferably, the rod 20 is comprised of a rigid, sturdy plastic material, such as polypropylene. The plastic material for the rod is available from the same place as discussed above with respect to the base.

[0029] As shown in FIG. 1, the apparatus 10 further comprises at least two positioning members 28, which for purposes of this invention can also be referred to as first positioning member and second positioning member. Preferably, the apparatus comprises two positioning members of the same size and shape. However, additional positioning members may be used with the present invention. The positioning members 28 both comprise an outer surface 30, an inner surface 32, a top end 34, a bottom end 36, and sides 38. The bottom end 36 of the positioning member 28 is coupled to the top surface 14 of the base 12. Preferably, the positioning members 28 are spaced apart from and directly opposite each other. Rod 20 is centered between the inner surfaces 32 of the positioning members 28. Preferably, the positioning members 28 are each spaced an equal distance from the rod 20, as well as each spaced an equal distance from an imaginary vertical axis (not shown) down the center of the base 12. Preferably, the positioning members 28 are spaced an equal distance from the rod 20 in the range of from about 1.0 inch to about 2.5 inches. Preferably, the positioning members 28 are of a shape such that the bottom portion is wider than the top portion, as shown in FIG. 1. However, the positioning members may also be formed in other suitable shapes and sizes. Preferably, the positioning members 28 each have a height in the range of from about inch to about 2.0 inches. Preferably the positioning members 28 each have a width in the range from about 1.0 inch to about 2.0 inches. Preferably the positioning members 28 each have a top thickness in the range from about {fraction (1/16)} inch to about inch. Preferably the positioning members 28 each have a bottom thickness in the range from about inch to about inch The positioning members 28 are preferably solid and are comprised of plastic, wood, metal or another suitable material. More preferably, the positioning members 28 are comprised of a rigid, sturdy plastic material, such as polypropylene. The plastic material for the positioning members is available from the same manufacturer as discussed above with respect to the base.

[0030] While the rod 20 and positioning members 28 may be coupled to the top surface 14 of the base 12 by adhesive, screw means, or other suitable attachment means, for ease of manufacturing and strength, the base 12, rod 20, and positioning members 28 are preferably formed in one unitary piece, such as by single cavity injection molding.

[0031] As shown in FIG. 1, the apparatus 10 further comprises a deformable element 40. The deformable element 40 may be comprised of foam or another suitable cushioned material. Preferably, the deformable element 40 is comprised of a polyurethane foam which may be shaped to fit the apparatus 10 by die-cutting a foam sheet in substantially the same shape as the shape of the desired label and/or shape of the desired compact disc. However, other suitable fabrication methods and equivalent materials may be used. The polyurethane foam material for the deformable element is available as 33100 polyurethane from Wasatch Container, Inc. of Salt Lake City, Utah. This material used with the present invention provides such advantages such as lower manufacturing costs and simple fabrication. The thickness of the foam used to make the deformable element is preferably between about ⅛ inch to about 1 inches.

[0032] As shown in FIGS. 1-5, the deformable element 40 of this version comprises a top surface 42, a bottom surface 44, and sides 46. In this version, the sides 46 a, 46 b comprise two substantially straight sides 46 a opposite each other, and two slightly curved sides 46 b opposite each other, wherein the sides 46 b curve slightly outwardly. Preferably, sides 46 a have a length in the range of from about 1.5 inches to about 5.0 inches. Preferably, sides 46 b have a length in the range of from about 1.5 inches to about 6.0 inches. In this version, preferably, the top surface 42 of the deformable element 40 is raised upwardly in a raised central portion 48. The raised central portion 48 preferably has a curved configuration or an angled configuration. However, other suitable configurations may also be contemplated. Top end portions 50 of the top surface 42 are preferably lower in height than the height of the raised central portion 48, that is, the top surface gradually increases in height from the end portions 50 to the raised central portion 48 and peaks in height at the raised central portion 48. Preferably, the thickness of the deformable element 40 at the end portions 50 is in the range of from about ⅛ inch to about 1⅝ inch. Preferably, the thickness of the deformable element at the raised central portion 48 is in the range of from about inch to about 1 inches. Preferably, the bottom surface 44 of the deformable element 40 is substantially planar or flat.

[0033] The deformable element 40 further comprises an aperture 52. Preferably, the aperture 52 is substantially round in shape and formed in the center of the deformable element 40. The aperture 52 is adapted to receive the rod 20. The aperture 52 of the deformable element has a diameter that is slightly greater than the outer diameter of the rod. Thus, when the deformable element 40 is fitted over the rod 20, the deformable element is preferably of a size and shape that creates a snug fit over the outer surface of the rod, with the bottom surface 44 of the deformable element 40 against the top surface 14 of the base, and with the sides 46 a of the deformable element 40 fitted between and adjacent to or against the inner surfaces 32 of the positioning members 28. The inner surfaces 32 of the positioning members 28 are preferably in parallel alignment with the sides 46 a of the deformable element 40. The inner surfaces 32 of the positioning members 28 act as areas of retention for securing or retaining the deformable element 40, a label 54, and compact disc 56 in a substantially fixed position when such label and compact disc are positioned over the deformable element 40 and over the rod 20 during the labeling process. The positioning members 28 are used to facilitate alignment and positioning of the label 54 with the deformable element 40. In addition, the positioning members 28 are used to facilitate the alignment and positioning of the compact disc 56 with the label 54 and the deformable element 40. The positioning members 28 are spaced apart from each other at a distance slightly greater than the width of the deformable element 40, slightly greater than the width of the label 54, and slightly greater than the width of the compact disc 56.

[0034] The raised configuration of the top surface of the deformable element is advantageously used to apply the label to the compact disc from the center outwardly to the ends, allowing for a smoother, more even label application. In addition, the apparatus of the present invention prevents or minimizes the occurrence of air bubbles under the label, the occurrence of creases in the label, and the improper placement of the label on the compact disc which can result in malfunctions to the disc or failure of the disc.

[0035] The deformable element 40 may be removable or affixed to the base 12 via an adhesive material or another suitable attachment means. Preferably, the deformable element 40 is removable. If the deformable element becomes worn out, it is possible with the present invention to remove the worn deformable element and replace it with a new deformable element of the same size and shape. In addition, if it is desired to label a different shaped compact disc, it is possible to remove the deformable element and replace it with a deformable element of a different size and shape. For both ease of manufacture and aesthetic purposes, the shape of the deformable element preferably mirrors the shape of the compact disc and label.

[0036] As shown in FIG. 1, the deformable element 40 is cut in substantially the same size and shape as the compact disc 56 for which the label 54 is to be applied to. In the version shown in FIG. 1, the deformable element 40 is of substantially the same size and shape as the compact disc 56, which for purposes of this invention, has the shape and configuration of a compact disc business card. As shown in FIG. 1, the deformable element 40, the label 54, and the compact disc 56 are all substantially rectangular in shape. Sides 46 a of the deformable element 40 are both substantially straight. Sides 46 b of the deformable element 40 are slightly curved outwardly. As shown in FIG. 1, the shape and configuration of both the label and compact disc substantially mirror the shape and configuration of the deformable element.

[0037]FIG. 2 shows a top plan view of the label applicator apparatus of FIG. 1. FIG. 3 shows a cross-sectional view of the label applicator in the direction of line 3-3 of FIG. 2, as the compact disc 56 is pressed downwardly against the label 54 and the deformable element 40. FIG. 4 shows a cross-sectional view of the label applicator in progression from FIG. 3, where the compact disc 56 is completely pressed against the label 54 and the deformable element 40 is compressed. FIG. 5 shows a cross-sectional view of the label applicator in the direction of line 5-5 of FIG. 2.

[0038] FIGS. 6-8 show other versions of the present invention. FIG. 6 is an exploded view of another version of a label applicator 200 of the present invention where a shaped compact disc 202, a label 204, and a deformable element 206 are all in the shape of a rectangle. The top surface of the deformable element 206 is raised in the central portion.

[0039]FIG. 7 is an exploded view of another version of a label applicator 300 of the present invention where a shaped compact disc 302, a label 304, and a deformable element 306 are all in the shape of a square. The top surface of the deformable element 306 is raised in the central portion.

[0040]FIG. 8 is an exploded view of another version of a label applicator 400 of the present invention where a shaped compact disc 402, a label 404, and a deformable element 406 are all in a miniature round shape. This miniature round shape is smaller than the shape of a conventional round compact disc. The top surface of the deformable element 406 is raised in the central portion.

[0041] It is also contemplated that the apparatus of the present invention can be designed to include a deformable element that conforms to numerous other shapes and configurations of the label and the shaped compact discs. In all of the versions of the present invention, the deformable element, no matter what the shape, has a portion of the top surface, preferably the central portion, that is raised and that facilitates the smooth, even application of the label to the compact disc when the compact disc is pressed against the label and, in turn, pressed against the deformable element.

[0042] The present invention is also directed to a method for applying a label to a compact disc using the apparatus 10 of the present invention described previously. The method according to the present invention is suitable for applying labels of varying shapes and sizes to compact discs of varying shapes and sizes. The method is used for applying a label, preferably having an adhesive side and a nonadhesive side, to a compact disc having a first side a first side which is the printable and nonreadable side and a second side which is the recording and readable side Preferably, the method is performed manually.

[0043] For convenience, referring to FIG. 1, the method comprises the steps of first providing the apparatus 10, or any other versions of the apparatus, of the present invention and aligning the label 54 having a center aperture 58 over the deformable element 40 so that the label 54 and the deformable element 40 are in parallel alignment with the label over the deformable element. Preferably, the deformable element is adjacent to and between the inner surfaces 32 of the positioning members 28.

[0044] Typically, self-adhesive labels have wax paper over the adhesive side of the label. Before the label is applied, the wax paper backing of the self-adhesive label is removed. The next step of the method is placing the center aperture 58 of the label 54 over and around the rod 20 and positioning and moving the label 54 downwardly toward the deformable element 40, so that a nonadhesive side 60 of the label 54 is in contact with and rests on a portion of the top surface 42 of the deformable element 40, and an adhesive side 62 of the label 54 faces upward. The inner diameter of the center aperture 58 of the label is greater than the outer diameter of the rod 20. In this position, the rod 20 protrudes upwardly through the center aperture 58 of the label 54. Preferably, a portion of each of the sides 64 of label 54 is adjacent to the inner surfaces 32 and the label is positioned and retained between the inner surfaces 32 of the positioning members 28. Because the label is fitted over the rod 20 and retained between the positioning members 28, movement or slippage of the label is prevented or minimized, and there is also little opportunity for the label to curl.

[0045] The next step of the method is aligning the compact disc 56 having a center aperture 66 over the label 54, so that the compact disc and the label are in parallel alignment with the compact disc over the label. The next step of the method is placing the center aperture 66 of the compact disc 56 over the rod 20 and positioning the compact disc 56 over the label 54 so that a first side 68 of the compact disc is in contact with the adhesive side 62 of the label and a second side 70 of the compact disc faces upward with protruding ridges on the second side facing upward. The inner diameter of the center aperture 66 of the compact disc is greater than the outer diameter of the rod 20. In this position, the rod 20 protrudes upwardly through the center aperture 66 of the compact disc 56. Preferably, a portion of each of the sides 72 of compact disc 56 is adjacent to the inner surfaces 32 and the compact disc is positioned and retained between the inner surfaces 32 of the positioning members 28. Because the compact disc is fitted over the rod 20 and retained between the positioning members 28, movement or slippage of the compact disc is prevented or minimized, and there is also little opportunity for the compact disc to be damaged. The center aperture 58 of the label 54 can be slightly larger or the same size as the center aperture 66 of the compact disc.

[0046] The next step in the method is pressing the positioned compact disc 56 against the adhesive surface 62 of the label 54 and against the deformable element 40, such that the deformable element deforms or compresses from the central raised portion 48 outwardly to end portions 50 and causes the label 54 to adhere to the compact disc 56. Preferably, the pressure is manual pressure. The pressure to the disc is applied in a smooth, even motion in order to minimize the occurrence of air bubbles between the label and the compact disc and in order to minimize the occurrence of creases in the label. Preferably, the compact disc is manually depressed onto the adhesive surface of the label and pressed out evenly over the label and over the deformable element. Preferably, the pressing should be done slowly in a smooth, fluid motion that keeps the compact disc as flat as possible. As the compact disc slides down the rod, it will make contact with the raised center portion of the label first. In a smooth motion, downward pressure is applied to the compact disc allowing it to slowly compress the deformable element. As the bottom ends 74 of the compact disc are pressed over the top end portions 50 of the deformable element, the label is applied with the no or minimal air bubbles and creases. The smooth, even motion gives the label a smooth, even appearance on the compact disc. Thus, the method of the present invention prevents or minimizes the occurrence of air bubbles that may form during the application process, prevents or minimizes the occurrence of creases in the label that may be created during the application process, and prevents or minimizes the improper application of the label to the compact disc during the application process. The label may extend to almost the outer edge of the disc or may be of a substantially smaller diameter than the disc. The final step is removing the labeled compact disc from the apparatus. As the compact disc is lifted off of the deformable element, the deformable element, which is in a compressed state, expands and raises back to its original decompressed state, and the apparatus is ready for use again.

[0047] Although the present invention has been described in considerable detail with reference to certain preferred versions thereof, other versions of the invention are possible. Therefore, the scope of the appended claims should not be limited to the description of the preferred versions contained herein.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6585021 *Jun 22, 2001Jul 1, 2003Imation Corp.CD label applicator kit
US6689238Mar 30, 2001Feb 10, 2004Avery Dennison CorporationLabelling system
US6748994 *Apr 11, 2002Jun 15, 2004Avery Dennison CorporationLabel applicator, method and label therefor
US7306690Aug 3, 2006Dec 11, 2007Avery Dennison CorporationMethod for applying labels
EP1385697A1 *Apr 11, 2002Feb 4, 2004Avery Dennison CorporationLabel applicator, method and label therefor
WO2004064013A2 *Jan 12, 2004Jul 29, 2004Flynn Patrick JLabel assembly and apparatus for applying a label
Classifications
U.S. Classification156/582, 156/583.3
International ClassificationB65C9/26
Cooperative ClassificationB65C9/265
European ClassificationB65C9/26B2