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Publication numberUS20030062286 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/260,295
Publication dateApr 3, 2003
Filing dateOct 1, 2002
Priority dateOct 2, 2001
Also published asUS20070012591
Publication number10260295, 260295, US 2003/0062286 A1, US 2003/062286 A1, US 20030062286 A1, US 20030062286A1, US 2003062286 A1, US 2003062286A1, US-A1-20030062286, US-A1-2003062286, US2003/0062286A1, US2003/062286A1, US20030062286 A1, US20030062286A1, US2003062286 A1, US2003062286A1
InventorsHideo Igarashi
Original AssigneeHideo Igarashi
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Inflatable space filler structure for container
US 20030062286 A1
Abstract
Disclosed is an inflatable space filler structure comprising a cushioning member to encircle a shock-brittle object contained in a container for preventing the object from any shock action. The cushioning member comprises: two rectangular pieces of resin film or sheet, which are laid on each other and thermowelded in air-tight condition along their sides and in their confronting major planes in the form of partition lines parallel-arranged, reaching short of the opposite lateral sides of the rectangular pieces of resin film or sheet, thus defining divisional air-tight sections. Also, the cushioning member comprises an air inlet equipped with a check valve for inflating the divisional air-tight sections with air, thereby applying the expanded divisional air-tight sections to the front, rear, upper and lower surfaces of the object.
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Claims(9)
What is claimed is:
1. An inflatable space filler structure comprising a cushioning member to encircle a shock-brittle object contained in a container for preventing the object from any shock action, characterized in that the cushioning member comprises:
two rectangular pieces of resin film or sheet, which are laid on each other and thermowelded in air-tight condition along their sides and in their confronting major planes in the form of partition lines parallel-arranged, reaching short of the opposite lateral sides of the rectangular pieces of resin film or sheet, thus defining divisional air-tight sections; and
an air inlet equipped with a check valve for inflating the divisional air-tight sections with air, thereby applying the expanded divisional air-tight sections to the front, rear, upper and lower surfaces of the object.
2. An inflatable space filler structure according to claim 1, wherein extra buffers are integrally connected to the opposite lateral edges of the rectangular pieces of resin film or sheet to protect the corresponding opposite sides of the object from any shock action.
3. An inflatable space filler structure according to claim 1, wherein the rectangular pieces of resin film or sheet have stripes formed alternate with the partition lines on their major planes, which alternate stripes are formed by weakly thermowelding selected stripes in air-tight condition in the confronting major planes, so that such stripes may be broken prior to any of the partition lines in response to incidental application of excessive pressure to the inflatable space filler.
4. An inflatable space filler structure according to claim 1, wherein it further comprises an air-hole made for uncorking, the air-hole has a seal piece to cover the air-hole in air-tight fashion, the seal piece being capable of-being peeled off and attached repeatedly for use.
5. An inflatable space filler structure according to claim 1, wherein the container is a cardboard box with a packing assistant.
6. An inflatable space filler structure comprising a cushioning member to encircle a shock-brittle object contained in a container for preventing the object from any shock action, characterized in that the cushioning member comprises:
outside and inside closed bags of resin film or sheet of different depths, the inside bag being fitted in the outside bag, their bottoms and opposite lateral and longitudinal sides being thermowelded and connected together to stagger their upper closed edges while the outside and inside bags communicate at their bottoms, making the inside bag form a pocket fastened onto the outside bag, the confronting planes of the outside and inside bags being thermowelded in the form of partition lines, which are predetermined distances apart from the longitudinal opposite sides of the outside-and-inside bag combination, and
an air inlet equipped with a check valve for inflating the outside and inside bags, thereby applying the expanded outside and inside bags to the shock-brittle object in the pocket.
7. An inflatable space filler structure according to claim 6, wherein the outside-and-inside bag combination has sacrificial seals formed between each partition line and one or the other longitudinal side of the outside-and-inside bag combination.
8. An inflatable space filler structure according to claim 6, wherein it further comprises an air-hole made for uncorking, the air-hole has a seal piece to cover the air-hole in air-tight fashion, the seal piece being capable of being peeled off and attached repeatedly for use.
9. An inflatable space filler structure according to claim 6, wherein the container is a cardboard box with a packing assistant.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to a space filler structure comprising a cushioning member to encircle a shock-brittle object such as a personal computer, an electronics part of complicated shape or a glass article for preventing the object from any shock action when it is contained in a container.

[0003] 2. Related Arts

[0004] As is well known, space fillers are made of foam polystyrene to fit the shape of goods to be contained in boxes. Specifically when a shock-brittle object is contained in a container, such a foam polystyrene cushion is used to fill the remaining space of the container in which the shock-brittle object is put. Such space filler is often larger than the object to be protected against a shock.

[0005] Accordingly the container such as a cardboard box is necessitated to be large enough to contain such a large cushion. Advantageously the foam polystyrene cushion can restore to its original shape and size even though it should be shocked repeatedly, thus enabling the object to be kept in safe condition.

[0006] Although the foam polystyrene cushion is satisfied in protecting a shock-brittle object against a recurrent shock action, it needs to be shaped and sized to fit the object, and the so shaped and sized cushion is apt to become large in volume. Bulky cushions are difficult to be thrown away.

[0007] Recently the disposal of foam polystyrene poses a problem from the point of view of the public nuisance. Therefore, there has been an ever-increasing demand for shock-absorbing cushions as a substitute for foam polystyrene cushions.

[0008] In the hope of meeting such demand, there has been proposed an inflatable cushion or a pulp-molding cushion.

[0009] Japan Patents 10-114366(A) and 2001-199476(A) show inflatable cushions. Specifically Japan Patent 10-114366(A) shows a “container equipped with inflatable cushion”, which container is equipped with an inflatable cushion with an air-valve. The inflatable cushion is fastened to the inside of the container, and the inflatable cushion can hold an object firmly. The object is so firmly held by the cushion when inflated with air that the object cannot be taken out of the container without difficulty. Also, disadvantageously the inflatable cushion cannot be separated from the container without difficulty when the cushion is removed and thrown away.

[0010] Japan Patent 2001-199476(A) shows a “packing member and method of using the same”. The packing member comprises a tube-like bag, which can be used repeatedly. It can contain a small-sized cylindrical article such as a toner cartridge for a printer. When the tube-like bag is inflated with air for expansion, it cannot be yieldingly bent to be put in a square box. Another tube-like packing member comprises a lamination of inflatable tube-like sections each equipped with an air inlet for inflation. In use, the inflatable tube-like sections need to be inflated one by one. The tube-like bag has a lid to cover its opening when a toner cartridge is contained.

[0011] Different from a foam polystyrene cushion, a pulp-molding cushion cannot restore to its original shape when it is shocked, so that it may be partly deformed. Therefore, it cannot be used repeatedly. Also, disadvantageously the pulp-molding cushion needs to be shaped in conformity with an object to which the pulp-molding cushion is to be applied.

[0012] When an inflatable cushion is used, it is put at the center of a container to be inflated with air. The inflated cushion is sensitive to the surrounding temperature. Specifically its volume is liable to change with the surrounding temperature, increasing with the rise of the surrounding temperature, and decreasing with the descent of the surrounding temperature. The inflatable cushion, therefore, needs to be inflated with a controlled amount of air in consideration of the presumable change of the surrounding temperature.

[0013] Assuming that the package is being transported in tropical zones, the inflatable cushion is apt to be expanded, and the so expanded cushion when shocked, can be easily broken to be collapsed, losing its shock-absorbing capability.

[0014] One object of the present invention is to provide an inflatable space filler structure which permits an object to be taken out of the container with ease; permits the object to be wrapped no matter what size and shape the object may have; and prevents the breaking and collapsing of the expanded bag when being handled roughly even in the state of being in excessive inflation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0015] To attain this object an inflatable space filler structure comprising a cushioning member to encircle a shock-brittle object contained in a container for preventing the object from any shock action, is improved according to the present invention in that the cushioning member comprises: two rectangular pieces of resin film or sheet, which are laid on each other and thermowelded in air-tight condition along their sides and in their confronting major planes in the form of partition lines parallel-arranged, reaching short of the opposite lateral sides of the rectangular pieces of resin film or sheet, thus defining divisional air-tight sections; and an air inlet equipped with a check valve for inflating the divisional air-tight sections with air, thereby applying the expanded divisional air-tight sections to the front, rear, upper and lower surfaces of the object. The word, “film” is used in describing a relatively thin sheet of resin material whereas the word, “sheet” is used in describing a relatively thick sheet of resin material.

[0016] With this arrangement the cushioning member need not be shaped to fit the object, assuring that a shock-absorbing effect be caused no matter what size and shape the object may have. The inflatable space filler can be put in condition for use simply by blowing air from the single air inlet into the cushioning member. The cushioning member thus inflated with air is adequate to prevent the whole of the object against a shock action.

[0017] Preferably extra buffers may be integrally connected to the opposite lateral edges of the rectangular pieces of resin film or sheet to protect the corresponding opposite sides of the object from any shock action.

[0018] The rectangular pieces of resin film or sheet may have stripes formed alternate with the partition lines on their major planes, which alternate stripes are formed by weakly thermowelding selected stripes in air-tight condition in the confronting major planes, so that such stripes may be broken prior to any of the partition lines in response to incidental application of excessive pressure to the inflatable space filler.

[0019] An inflatable space filler structure comprising a cushioning member to encircle a shock-brittle object contained in a container for preventing the object from any shock action, is improved according to the present invention in that the cushioning member comprises: outside and inside closed bags of resin film or sheet of different depths, the inside bag being fitted in the outside bag, their bottoms and opposite lateral and longitudinal sides being thermowelded and connected together to stagger their upper closed edges while the outside and inside bags communicate at their bottoms, making the inside bag form a pocket fastened onto the outside bag, the confronting planes of the outside and inside bags being thermowelded in the form of partition lines, which are predetermined distances apart from the longitudinal opposite sides of the outside-and-inside bag combination, and an air inlet equipped with a check valve for inflating the outside and inside bags, thereby applying the expanded outside and inside bags to the shock-brittle object in the pocket.

[0020] With this arrangement, a small-sized cylindrical object such as a fragile glass article can be enclosed easily by the cushioning member to be protected against any shock action in the container.

[0021] The outside-and-inside bag combination has sacrificial seals formed between each partition line and one or the other longitudinal side of the outside-and-inside bag combination.

[0022] An inflatable space filler structure as described above may further comprises an air-hole made for uncorking, the air-hole has a seal piece to cover the air-hole in air-tight fashion, the seal piece being capable of being peeled off and attached repeatedly for use.

[0023] The container may be a cardboard box with a packing assistant, which facilitates the configuring and fitting of the cushion to the object when put in the container.

[0024] The inflatable space filler structure as described above provides the advantages of:

[0025] facilitating the taking-out of an object from the container;

[0026] facilitating removal of the cushion from the container for disposal because the cushion is not fixed to the container;

[0027] permitting the wrapping of any object no matter what size and shape it may have;

[0028] permitting the cushion to be put in condition for use simply by blowing air into the bag-like cushion from the single air inlet;

[0029] facilitating transportation or storage of cushions by removing air to collapse; and

[0030] permitting reuse of the cushion.

[0031] Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be understood from the following description of preferred embodiments of the present invention, which are shown in accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0032]FIG. 1 is a plane view of space filler according to a first embodiment of the present invention;

[0033]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an uncorking seal member applied to the cushioning member of the space filler of FIG. 1;

[0034]FIG. 3 is a similar perspective view, but showing the uncorking seal member peeled off halfway towards complete removal;

[0035]FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an inverted “V”-shaped extra buffer integrally connected to either lateral edge of the space filler of FIG. 1;

[0036]FIG. 5 illustrates the space filler of FIG. 1 with an object put on its center;

[0037]FIG. 6 illustrates how the object is put in a container along with the space filler of FIG. 1;

[0038]FIG. 7 is a cross section showing that the object is put in the container with the space filler of FIG. 1 occupying the remaining space in the container;

[0039]FIG. 8 is a similar cross section, but showing that the object is completely enclosed with the space filler of FIG. 1, and is contained in the container;

[0040]FIG. 9 is an enlarged cross section of the object-and-container taken along the line 9-9 in FIG. 8;

[0041]FIG. 10 is a plane view of a modification of the space filler of FIG. 1 having sacrificial lines alternating with the partition lines;

[0042]FIG. 11 illustrates, in cross section, the space filler of FIG. 10 inflated with air, one sacrificial line being broken, making two adjacent sections communicate with each other;

[0043]FIG. 12 is a plane view of a space filler according to a second embodiment of the present invention;

[0044]FIG. 13 is an enlarged sectional view of the space filler of FIG. 12 taken along the line 13-13 in FIG. 12;

[0045]FIG. 14 is a cross section of the space filler of FIG. 12 inflated with air, enwrapping a cylindrical object;

[0046]FIG. 15 is a plane view of space filler according to a third embodiment of the present invention;

[0047]FIG. 16 is a perspective view of the space filler of FIG. 15 inflated with air;

[0048]FIG. 17 is a plane view of space filler according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention;

[0049]FIG. 18 is an enlarged cross section of the space filler of FIG. 17 taken along the line 18-18; and

[0050]FIG. 19 is an enlarged cross section of the space filler of FIG. 17 inflated with air, enwrapping a cylindrical object, taken along the line 19-19 in FIG. 17.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0051] FIGS. 1 to 9 show a space filler according to a first embodiment of the present invention. Referring to FIG. 1, the space filler comprises a cushioning member 1 to encircle a shock-brittle object contained in a container for preventing the object from any shock action. The cushioning member 1 is like an air bag, comprising two rectangular pieces of resin film or sheet, which are laid on each other and thermo welded on their four sides 2 in airtight condition.

[0052] For the purpose of facilitating the thermowelding of the confronting two rectangular pieces of resin film or sheet, one extra piece of “thermowelding easy” resin film or sheet (such as polyethylene) of same size and shape as the confronting pieces of resin film or sheet may be sandwiched therebetween, and then, the composite lamination of resin film or sheet is heated along its four sides and at selected areas to be sealed together. Otherwise, extra pieces of “thermowelding easy” resin film or sheet may be arranged at the four sides and some selected areas to be thermo welded when the composite lamination of resin film or sheet is heated.

[0053] The major planes of the confronting resin film or sheet are thermo welded in the form of partition lines 3, which are parallel-arranged to reach short of the opposite lateral edges of the rectangular shape, thus defining divisional air-tight sections 4 between adjacent partition lines 3. These divisional air-tight sections 4 communicate with each other by the opposite lateral margins, and are named upper, front, rear and lower pneumatic cells 4 a, 4 e, 4 b, 4 d and 4 c for which part of an object the divisional air-tight sections 4 are applied to.

[0054] Extra buffers 6 are formed along the opposite lateral edges of the rectangular pieces of resin film or sheet to protect the corresponding opposite sides of the object from any shock action. Each extra buffer 6 is composed of two semi-buffers 6 a and 6 b connected in the form of inverted “V”-shape, communicating with the divisional airtight sections 4 via marginal channels 5 a and 5 b (see FIG. 4).

[0055] An air inlet 7 is provided at one sealed side 2 of the cushioning member 1, which is communicated with the marginal channels 5 a and 5 b. The air inlet 7 is equipped with a check valve 8. The divisional air-tight sections 4 and the extra buffers 6 can be inflated with air by blowing air from the air inlet 7 into the air bag 1, preventing the air from leaking to the surrounding atmosphere by the check valve 8.

[0056] When the air bag is inflated with air to enwrap an object, the expanded divisional air-tight sections 4 and the extra buffers 6 are applied to the front, rear, upper, lower sides and the opposite sides of the object to prevent the object against any shock action in all directions.

[0057] The cushioning member 1 has a semicircular uncorking hole 10 made therein, and a sticky seal 9 closes the uncorking hole 10 in air-tight fashion, as seen from FIG. 2. The sticky seal 9 can be removed partly to allow the air to flow out from the air bag 1, as seen from FIG. 3. The sticky seal 9 may have non-sticky margin 9 a to facilitate the peeling-off of the sticky seal 9.

[0058] When removing the air from the air bag 1, it is collapsed to be flat, and then, it can be folded to reduce its size for the sake of convenience of transportation and storage.

[0059] As the sticky seal 9 is made with a seal member which has ability of peeling off and re-sticking, the air bag 1 can be used repeatedly by: inflating the air bag 1 with air; closing the uncorking hole 10 with the sticky seal 9; peeling the sticky seal 9 partly off to remove the air from the air bag 1; and repeating the sequence as many times as required.

[0060] Preferably the lower portion of the sticky seal 9 is fastened firmly to the air bag 1 to allow the upper part of the sticky seal 9 to be removably attached to the air bag 1, thereby permitting the upper part to close the semicircular uncorking hole 10. This assures that the sticky seal 9 is not lost when it is peeled off for uncorking; otherwise, if the sticky seal 9 were peeled off completely, there would be a fear of losing the same.

[0061] The semicircular shape of the uncorking hole 10 is convenient to the peeling-off of the sticky seal 9 on the half-way to the complete removal. The uncorking hole should not be understood to be limitative to the semicircular shape, but it may be circular, elliptic or polygonal in shape.

[0062] Referring to FIG. 4, the rectangular pieces of resin film or sheet have extra buffers 6 formed along their opposite lateral edges to protect the corresponding opposite sides of the object from any shock action. Each buffer section 6 can be formed by: making the partition lines 3 reach short of the opposite lateral edges of rectangular pieces of resin film or sheet; folding the lateral side inward to form an inverted “V”-shaped lateral edge; and applying heat all sides of the laminated resin films or sheets, that is, the front film or sheet 11 b of relatively strong resin material such as vinyl film, the intermediate film or sheet 11 a of “thermowelding easy” resin material such as polyethylene and the rear film or sheet 11 b of relatively strong resin material. Simultaneously the partition lines 3 can be formed by thermowelding the major planes of the confronting resin film or sheets at selected areas.

[0063] Simultaneous thermowelding of the composite resin lamination may be followed by cutting rectangular for making space fillers. The process of making space fillers is advantageous to improvement of the manufacturing efficiency.

[0064] Referring to FIG. 5, the inflatable space filler 1 is laid flat on the floor without being inflated with air, and an object 12 is put on the bottom section 4 c. The partition lines 3 are so formed that they may define divisional sections, which will become the pneumatic cells to fit all sides of the object 12 when the space filler 1 is inflated with air.

[0065] Specifically when the space filler 1 is inflated with air, the bottom, front, rear and upper divisional sections 4 c, 4 b, 4 d and 4 a, 4 e of the space filler 1 are changed to the bottom, front, rear and upper pneumatic cells to be applied to the bottom, front, rear and upper sides of the object 12. If the space filler 1 had no partition lines formed in its major plane, it could not bend accurately to fit the object 12.

[0066] Referring to FIG. 6, after the space filler 1 is laid flat on the floor with the object 12 put on the bottom section 4 c, the front-and-upper semi-section and the rear-and-upper semi-section are raised to sandwich the object 12. As seen from the drawing, a packaging assistant 13 b is used in putting in a container 13 a the object 12, which is enwrapped with the space filler 1. The packaging assistant 13 b is composed of bottom, front and rear sections and upper semi-sections corresponding to those of the space filler 1 respectively, and the opposite upper semi-sections have elongated holes 14 made therein for inserting the four fingers of both hands to grip the upper semi-sections by using the thumbs of both hands, thereby facilitating the lifting and inserting (or taking-out) of the object-and-space filler in (or from) the container 13 a.

[0067] Referring to FIG. 7, after the object-and-space filler is put in the container 13 a, the space filler 1 is inflated with air. The post-inflation of the space filler facilitates the putting-in of the object-and-space filler.

[0068] The bottom pneumatic cell 4 c is collapsed, bearing the weight of the object 12 d, as shown in FIG. 7 (solid lines). When the opposite upper semi-sections of the packaging assistant 13 b are folded toward the top 12 a of the object 12, the opposite upper semi-pneumatic cells 4 a and 4 e are folded to the top 12 a of the object 12 so that air may be driven forcedly into the bottom pneumatic cell 4 c, thereby expanding the bottom pneumatic cell 4 c. Thus, the object is completely enclosed with the inflated air bag, as seen from FIG. 8. FIG. 9 shows how the air bag enwraps the object 12 as viewed from the arrows on the line 9-9 in FIG. 8. Thus, the object 12 can be completely protected from any shock action. Specifically the bottom, front, rear and upper pneumatic cells 4 c, 4 b, 4 d and 4 a,e and the opposite extra buffers 6 a and 6 b of the inflated space filler 1 will protect the bottom, front, rear and upper sides, and opposite sides 12 a and 12 b of the object 12.

[0069] The extra buffer 6 may have any shape other than the inverted “V”-shape (FIG. 4). Extra buffers may be provided simply by making the partition lines 3 reach short of the opposite lateral edges of the rectangular resin films or sheets, leaving marginal channels 5 a, 5 b on the opposite lateral edges.

[0070] When taking out the object 12 from the container 13 a, the packaging assistant 13 b is caught by the elongated holes 14 to pull up the packaging assistant-and-object from the container 13 a. Removal of the packaging assistant 13 b from the container 13 a is easy because the packaging assistant 13 b is not fixed to the container 13 a.

[0071] As may be understood from the above, a single shock absorbing space filler 1 can be used to enwrap an object 12 completely by inflating the space filler with air. The space filler can be inflated simply by blowing air from the single air inlet 7 into the space filler. Use of the packaging assistant 13 b facilitates the inputting of the object into the container 13 a. The space filler 1 can be used repeatedly.

[0072] Referring to FIG. 10, a space filler has four partition lines 3 and three sacrificial lines 3 a alternating with the partition lines 3. Such sacrificial lines 3 a can be formed by weakly thermowelding selected lines 3 a between adjacent partition lines 3, thus dividing each of the front, bottom and rear sections 4 b, 4 c and 4 d into semi-divisional sections.

[0073] The strength of each weak thermowelded lines 3 a is fifty to sixty percent of the strength of the partition line, and accordingly each sacrificial line 3 a allows the lying resin films or sheets to separate easily therealong compared with the partition line 3.

[0074] Assuming that a container falls inadvertently on the floor, a strong pressure is applied to the space filler instantly so that one or more selected sacrificial lines 3 a may be broken, thereby making the volume of the bottom pneumatic cell 4 c expand accordingly and absorb the pressure applied to the bottom pneumatic cell (see FIG. 11). Thus, the space filler can be self-protected against rupture, keeping the article in safe condition.

[0075] Even if all sacrificial lines 3 a of the inflated cushion 1 are broken, all of the front, bottom and rear pneumatic cells 4 b, 4 c and 4 d are allowed to expand without being ruptured, and therefore, the object remains enwrapped by the space filler as it was.

[0076] Referring to FIGS. 12 to 14, a tubular space filler 21 according to the second embodiment is descried below. The space filler 21 is composed of two rectangular pieces of resin film or sheet and a piece of “thermowelding easy” resin film or sheet sandwiched therebetween as is the case with the space filer according to the first embodiment.

[0077] The rectangular lamination is thermowelded along its four sides 22 as seen from the side and sectional views (FIGS. 12 and 13), and partition lines 23 are formed by thermowelding its major plane in parallel-stripe pattern, reaching short of the opposite lateral sides to leave lateral, marginal channels 25 a and 25 b, which communicate with the divisional sections defined between adjacent partition lines 23.

[0078] The space filler 21 has an air inlet 27 to open and communicate with the lateral, marginal channels 25 a and 25 b. The air inlet 27 is equipped with a check valve 28. In use the space filler 21 can be inflated like a balloon by blowing air from the air inlet 27 with an uncorking hole 29 closed with an associated sticky seal 29. When it is carried or stored, it can be flattened by unsealing the corking hole 30 and removing the air from the uncorking inlet 30. Thus, the space filler 21 can be used repeatedly.

[0079] Referring to FIG. 14, the space filler 21 is inflated with air to enwrap a cylindrical article 32, protecting the outer surface of the cylindrical article 32 by the absorbing pneumatic cell 24, and the opposite ends of the cylindrical article 32 by the pneumatic cells provided by the opposite marginal channels 25 a and 25 b, which function in the same way as extra buffers 6 in the space filler according to the first embodiment.

[0080] An elongated object 32 other than the cylindrical one can be enwrapped, provided that the partition lines 23 are as long as the elongated object 32.

[0081] The space filler according to the second embodiment can have sacrificial lines alternating with the partition lines 23, thereby preventing rupture of the air bag 21 when an increased pressure is applied thereto, assuring that the article is kept in safe condition.

[0082] Referring to FIGS. 15 and 16, a space filler 41 according to the third embodiment of the present invention is similar basically to the second embodiment. The number and arrangement of partition lines are so determined that the space filler when inflated with air may fit an article to be enwrapped.

[0083] As seen from the drawings, the space filler 41 is rectangular in shape, the four sides of which rectangular shape are thermowelded. Four partition lines 43 are formed by thermowelding the major plane in parallel-strip pattern, thus defining five adjacent divisional sections 44 and opposite lateral, marginal channels 45 a and 45 b, which communicate with the divisional sections 44.

[0084] An air inlet 47 is formed to open and communicate with the lateral, marginal channels 45 a and 45 b. The air inlet 47 is equipped with a check valve 48. An uncorking hole 50 is made, and an associated sticky seal 49 is applied to close the uncorking hole 50. With this arrangement, the space filler 41 can be inflated to enwrap an article, thus protecting the article against any shock action. When the air is removed by peeling off the sticky seal 49 from the uncorking hole 50, the space filler 47 is flattened to facilitate its transportation or storage. The space filler 41 can be used repeatedly by inflating and uncorking the air bag.

[0085] The pneumatic cells 44 and 45 a and 45 b are applied closely to all sides of the article for protection. The partition lines 43 are as long as the length of the article to be enwrapped. The square rod-like air bag can be snugly put in a similar rectangular cardboard box.

[0086] The air inlet 47 can appear on the top side of the air bag 41 when put in the cardboard box, provided that the four partition lines 43 and the thermowelded margins 42 are formed as seen from FIG. 16, thus facilitating that the space filler 41 is inflated after it is put in the cardboard box.

[0087] The air bag 41 may have sacrificial lines alternating with the partition lines as is the case with the first embodiment.

[0088] Referring to FIGS. 17 to 19, a space filler 51 according to the fourth embodiment of the present invention comprises a cushioning member in the form of dual air bag. Specifically the cushioning member comprises outside and inside closed bags 52 and 53 of resin film or sheet of different depths. The inside bag 53 is inserted in the outside bag 52, and their bottoms and opposite lateral and longitudinal sides 56, 57 and 58 are thermowelded and connected together to stagger their upper closed edges while the outside and inside bags 52 and 53 communicate at their bottoms, as best seen from FIG. 18. A lateral space 52 a is left between the bottom of the inside bag 53 and that of the outside bag 52. Thus, the inside bag 53 forms a pocket fastened onto the outside bag 52 for containing an object.

[0089] The confronting planes of the outside and inside bags 52 and 53 are thermowelded so as to provide partition lines 59 and 60, which are predetermined distances apart from the longitudinal opposite sides of the outside-and-inside bag combination. Sacrificial lines 61 and 62 are formed so as to extend from the lower ends of the partition lines 59 and 60 to the opposite thermowelded longitudinal sides 56 and 57. It should be noted that the sacrificial lines 61 and 62 run parallel to the themowelded bottom 58, a short distance apart therefrom, and that the longitudinal partition lines 59 and 60 extend from the lateral sacrificial lines 61 and 62 toward the open side of the dual bag somewhat beyond the intermediate or center line of the dual bag. A shock-brittle object can be contained in the space defined by the longitudinal partition lines 59 and 60 and the imaginary line extending one to the other sacrificial line, thus holding the object in the lower half part of the dual bag.

[0090] The dual bag is provided with an air inlet 63 with a check valve, which are attached at the time of thermowelding the upper edge 54 of the dual bag. The outside and inside bags can be inflated with air by blowing air from the air inlet, so that the expanded outside and inside bags may be applied to the shock-brittle object in the pocket. An uncorking hole 10 has an associated sticky seal 9. The sticky seal 9 can be peeled off and applied to the corking hole 10 repeatedly.

[0091] Referring to FIG. 19, a shock-brittle object such as a glass article 64 is put in the inside bag 53, and then the dual bag 51 is put in a cardboard box 65. The dual bag 51 is inflated with air by blowing air from the air inlet, thereby making the outside and inside bags 52 and 53 fill with air until the partition line-free part of the outside bag 52 has occupied the whole space of the cardboard box 65 as shown in supposing lines. The object 64 is enwrapped with the “inter-partition line” part of the inside bag 53 to be supported and suspended by the partition line-free part of the outside bag 52, which is fully expanded in the cardboard box.

[0092] When the cardboard box falls on the floor inadvertently, the sacrificial lines 61, 62 are broken to prevent the rupture of the air bag, thereby assuring that the object be protected against any shock action.

Referenced by
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US7621104Jan 31, 2005Nov 24, 2009Sealed Air Corporation (Us)Inflatable mailer, apparatus and method for preparing the same
US7882954Aug 1, 2006Feb 8, 2011Sealed Air Corporation (Us)Packaging assemblies and method of fabricating same
US7942578 *Feb 3, 2004May 17, 2011Coloplast A/SContainer
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Classifications
U.S. Classification206/522, 383/3, 206/594
International ClassificationB65D81/03, B65D5/50, B65D81/05
Cooperative ClassificationB65D81/052
European ClassificationB65D81/05A1
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 1, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: SANYO ENGINEERING CO., LTD, JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:IGARASHI, HIDEO;REEL/FRAME:013351/0249
Effective date: 20020920