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Publication numberUS20030205497 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/275,923
PCT numberPCT/US2001/015145
Publication dateNov 6, 2003
Filing dateMay 9, 2001
Priority dateMay 9, 2001
Publication number10275923, 275923, PCT/2001/15145, PCT/US/1/015145, PCT/US/1/15145, PCT/US/2001/015145, PCT/US/2001/15145, PCT/US1/015145, PCT/US1/15145, PCT/US1015145, PCT/US115145, PCT/US2001/015145, PCT/US2001/15145, PCT/US2001015145, PCT/US200115145, US 2003/0205497 A1, US 2003/205497 A1, US 20030205497 A1, US 20030205497A1, US 2003205497 A1, US 2003205497A1, US-A1-20030205497, US-A1-2003205497, US2003/0205497A1, US2003/205497A1, US20030205497 A1, US20030205497A1, US2003205497 A1, US2003205497A1
InventorsDonald Strickland
Original AssigneeStrickland Donald G
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Storage back rack system
US 20030205497 A1
Abstract
A storage bag rack system which includes a support assembly which includes a base portion defining a surface which is substantially horizontal and a support portion which extends generally vertically upwardly from the base portion, a mount disposed on the support portion, the mount being adapted to support a pad of storage bags on the support portion in general vertical orientation relative to the base portion such that an opening of a first bag in a pad of bags is oriented away from the support portion to facilitate insertion of material in the bag.
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Claims(28)
What is claimed is:
1. A pad of storage bags comprising:
a plurality of bags secured together, each bag including:
at least two layers of flexible material including a backing layer and a front layer;
a plurality of pockets formed between the at least two layers of material, wherein the pockets are configured to have an opening and have at least two sealed sides; and
at least one seal positioned near the edge of the opening of the pockets that is a liquid tight seal.
2. A pad of storage bags as recited in claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the at least one seal is positioned on an inside portion of the front layer and an inside portion of the backing layer to form a re-sealable pocket.
3. A pad of storage bags as recited in claim 1, wherein the at least one seat forms a liquid tight seal in the presence of moisture.
4. A pad of storage bags as recited in claim 1, wherein the pockets contain at least one gusset is formed by the pockets.
5. A pad of storage bags as recited in claim 1, wherein a plurality of bags are bound together into a pad format by a header member.
6. A pad of storage bags as recited in claim 5, wherein each of the at least one of the at least two layers includes an extended portion which is bound together with extended portions of adjacent bags includes at least one perforated segment.
7. A pad of storage bags as recited in claim 6, wherein the binding header defines at least one set of holes in the binding.
8. A pad of storage bags as recited in claim 1, wherein a first set of holes is positioned above a first segmented portion and a second set of holes is positioned below the first segmented portion and above a second segmented portion.
9. A pad of storage bags as recited in claim 1, wherein the plurality of pockets are of varying sizes.
10. A pad of storage bags as recited in claim I, wherein the at least two layers of each of the plurality of bags are formed of anti-static material.
11. A pad of storage bags as recited in claim 1, wherein the at least two layers each of the plurality of bags are treated with an anti-bacterial agent.
12. A pad of storage bags as recited in claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of bags includes a third layer positioned on the reverse side of the back layer that forms a plurality of pockets.
13. A pad of storage bags comprising:
a plurality of bags bound together each bag including:
a pair of flexible material layers joined on three respective edges forming a front side and a back side, the material layers forming a bottom edge, two side edges, and an opening between the front side and back side;
an extended portion extending from a top edge of at least one layer of the pair of flexible material layers;
at least one perforated segment positioned adjacent the at least one extended portion; and
at least two seals are positioned on an inside portion of the front sides and an inside opposing portion of the back sides near the opening of the pockets.
14. A pad of storage bags as recited in claim 13, wherein a protection cuff is formed on the front side.
15. A pad of storage bags as recited in claim 13, wherein a first seal is a cold seal and a second seal is a tongue and groove type seal.
16. A pad of storage bags as recited in claim 13, wherein the bonds a plurality of bags together.
17. A pad of storage bags as recited in claim 15, wherein each bag includes a protection cuff which overlays the second seal.
18. A pad of storage bags comprising:
a plurality of bag bound together, each bag including:
a pair of flexible material layers joined on three edges forming a front side and a back side, the joined pair of flexible material layers forming a bottom edge, two side edges, and an opening between the front side and back side;
an extended portion extending from a top edge of at least one layer of the pair of flexible material layers;
a perforated segment formed adjacent the extended portion;
a seal positioned on an inside portion of the front sides and an inside opposing portion of the back sides near the opening of the pockets; and
at least one protection cuff formed laterally across an outside front portion of the bag.
19. A storage bag rack system comprising:
a support assembly which includes a base portion defining a surface which is substantially horizontal and a support portion which extends generally vertically upwardly from the base portion;
a mount disposed on the support portion, the mount being adapted to support a pad of storage bags on the support portion in general vertical orientation relative to the base portion such that an opening of a first bag in a pad of bags is oriented away from the support portion to facilitate insertion of material in the bag.
20. A storage bag rack system as recited in claim 19, which further comprises a material dispersing member adapted to channel material poured therein into a bag in a pad of bags supported by the support assembly.
21. A storage bag rack system as recited in claim 20, wherein the material dispersing member is a funnel.
22. A storage bag rack system as recited in claim 21, wherein the funnel is adapted for at least partial insertion into a bag in a pad of bags supported by the support assembly.
23. A storage bag rack system as recited in claim 19, wherein the support assembly defines a utility area disposed in close proximity to the support portion.
24. A storage bag rack system as recited in claim 23, wherein the utility area is at least partially enclosed.
25. A storage bag rack system as recited in claim 23, further comprising a vacuum pump assembly disposed in the utility area and adapted for fluid communication with an interior portion of a bag on a pad of bags supported by the support assembly.
26. A storage bag rack system as recited in claim 19 wherein the base portion is configured and dimensioned to form a chopping surface.
27. A storage bag rack system comprising:
a pad of storage bags including a header portion having a tail formed extending downwardly on a rear side of the pad of bags;
a support assembly which includes a base portion defining a surface which is substantially horizontal and a support portion which extends generally vertically upwardly from the base portion;
a mount disposed on the support portion, the mount being adapted to support the pad of storage bags by way of the tail on the support portion such that the bags are maintained in a generally vertical orientation relative to the base portion such that an opening of a first bag in the pad of bags is oriented away from the support portion to facilitate insertion of material in the first bag.
28. A method of inserting material in a single bag which is attached to a pad of bags comprising the steps of:
supporting a pad of bags in a vertically oriented manner on a support assembly;
opening an outward-most bag on the pad of bags by pulling on a cuff portion of the bag;
inserting material in the outward-most bag; and
separating the outward-most bag from the pad of bags.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] The present application claims priority to U.S. provisional applications serial Nos. 60/202,959, filed May 9, 2000 and entitled RE-SEALABLE BAG SYSTEM; 60/247,292 filed Nov. 10, 2000 and entitled STORAGE BAG RACK SYSTEM; and ______, entitled STORAGE BAG RACK SYSTEM and filed Apr. 30, 2001 (Express Mail Label No. EL 820506858 US). The disclosures of each of these applications are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.

BACKGROUND

[0002] 1. Technical Field

[0003] The present disclosure relates to storage bags, storage bag rack systems and methods of handling, depositing, and sealing items in storage bags.

[0004] 2. Background of Related Art

[0005] Containment, handling and storage of bulk quantity material or soiled, medical sponge material is a top priority to restauranteurs, household consumers, and in the case of medical sponge materials, medical professionals. Previous storage bag systems have been developed. However, a continuing need exists for improved storage bags, storage bag rack systems and methods of inserting materials into storage bags.

SUMMARY

[0006] The presently disclosed embodiments provide a storage bag pad, storage bags and methods of inserting materials into storage bags which include the advantages of minimizing contact of the user with the material being inserted into the storage bags, providing single use bags to prevent contamination of the bags contents, protecting the integrity of the bags contents. A feature of the present disclosure when used in a food storage environment, is that it provides storage bags which able to be taken from a frozen environment to final preparation including insertion in boiling water if necessary.

[0007] The present disclosure addresses the above noted continuing need and provides the above noted advantages and features as well as others by providing in one embodiment, a pad of storage bags which includes a quantity of bags secured together, each bag including at least two layers of flexible material including a backing layer and a front layer, a plurality of pockets formed between the at least two layers of material, wherein the pockets are configured to have an opening and have at least two sealed sides; and at least one seal positioned near the edge of the opening of the pockets that is a liquid tight seal.

[0008] In one aspect, at least a portion of the seal is positioned on an inside portion of the front layer and an inside portion of the backing layer to form a re-sealable pocket. The seal may form a liquid tight seal in the presence of moisture. In another aspect, the pockets of the bags contain at least one gusset is formed by the pockets.

[0009] In another embodiment the present disclosure provides a pad of storage bags which includes a plurality of bags bound together. Each of the bags includes a pair of flexible material layers joined on three respective edges forming a front side and a back side, the material layers forming a bottom edge, two side edges, and an opening between the front side and back side, an extended portion extending from a top edge of at least one layer of the pair of flexible material layers, at least one perforated segment positioned adjacent the at least one extended portion, and at least two seals are positioned on an inside portion of the front sides and an inside opposing portion of the back sides near the opening of the pockets.

[0010] In one aspect of the embodiment a protection cuff is formed on the front side of each of the bags.

[0011] In a further embodiment, the present disclosure provides a pad of storage bags which includes a plurality of bags bound together, each bag includes a pair of flexible material layers joined on three edges forming a front side and a back side, the joined pair of flexible material layers forming a bottom edge, two side edges, and an opening between the front side and back side, an extended portion extending from a top edge of at least one layer of the pair of flexible material layers, a perforated segment formed adjacent the extended portion, a seal positioned on an inside portion of the front sides and an inside opposing portion of the back sides near the opening of the pockets, and at least one protection cuff formed laterally across an outside front portion of the bag.

[0012] In a further embodiment, the present disclosure provides a storage bag rack system which includes a support assembly which includes a base portion defining a surface which is substantially horizontal and a support portion which extends generally vertically upwardly from the base portion, a mount disposed on the support portion, the mount being adapted to support a pad of storage bags on the support portion in general vertical orientation relative to the base portion such that an opening of a first bag in a pad of bags is oriented away from the support portion to facilitate insertion of material in the bag.

[0013] In one aspect of the embodiment, a material dispersing member is provided which is adapted to channel material poured therein into a bag in a pad of bags supported by the support assembly. The material dispersing member may be provided as a funnel.

[0014] In another embodiment, the present disclosure provides a storage bag rack system that includes a pad of storage bags including a header portion having a tail formed extending downwardly on a rear side of the pad of bags, a support assembly which includes a base portion defining a surface which is substantially horizontal and a support portion which extends generally vertically upwardly from the base portion, a mount disposed on the support portion, the mount being adapted to support the pad of storage bags by way of the tail on the support portion such that the bags are maintained in a generally vertical orientation relative to the base portion such that an opening of a first bag in the pad of bags is oriented away from the support portion to facilitate insertion of material in the first bag.

[0015] The present disclosure also provides a method of inserting material in a single bag which is attached to a pad of bags. The method includes the steps of supporting a pad of bags in a vertically oriented manner on a support assembly, opening an outward-most bag on the pad of bags by pulling on a cuff portion of the bag, inserting material in the outward-most bag, and separating the outward-most bag from the pad of bags.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016] The advantages and features of the presently disclosed storage bag rack system and method of use will become more readily apparent and may be understood by referring to the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0017]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the presently disclosed storage bag rack system having a pad of detachable bags positioned thereon as constructed in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0018]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 with a pad of bags removed;

[0019]FIG. 3 is a perspective view with parts separated of the embodiment of FIG. 1; and

[0020]FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating a use sequence step;

[0021]FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 5 illustrating a further use sequence step;

[0022]FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5 illustrating a further sequence step;

[0023]FIG. 7 is a view similar to FIG. 5 illustrating yet another use sequence step;

[0024]FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a storage bag rack system constructed in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0025]FIG. 9 is a side elevation view of the embodiment of FIG. 8;

[0026]FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a material dispersing member for use in connection with the storage bag rack system of the present disclosure;

[0027]FIG. 11 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 10;

[0028]FIG. 12 is a front elevation of the embodiment of FIG. 10;

[0029]FIG. 13A is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a material dispersing member for use in connection with the storage bag rack system of the present disclosure;

[0030]FIG. 13B is a bottom view of the material dispersing member of FIG. 13A;

[0031]FIG. 13C is a top plan view of the material dispersing member of FIG. 13A;

[0032]FIG. 13D is a cross-section view taken along section line 13D-13D of FIG. 13C;

[0033]FIG. 14 is a further alternative embodiment featuring a utility space below the storage rack system;

[0034]FIG. 15 is a side view with the panel removed of the utility space;

[0035]FIG. 16 is a view similar to FIG. 15, which shows an alternative hinged access to the utility area;

[0036]FIG. 17 is a perspective view of a further alternative embodiment of a storage bag rack system constructed in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0037]FIG. 18 is a perspective view of a further alternative embodiment of a storage bag rack system constructed in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0038]FIG. 19 is a perspective view of a further alternative embodiment of a storage bag rack system, similar to the embodiment of FIG. 18;

[0039]FIG. 20 is a perspective view of a further alternative embodiment of a storage bag rack system constructed in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0040]FIG. 21 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 20, which shows a movable base portion;

[0041]FIG. 22 is a perspective view of a further alternative embodiment of a storage bag rack system constructed in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0042]FIG. 23 is a perspective view of a further alternative embodiment of a storage bag rack system which is similar to the embodiment of FIG. 22;

[0043]FIG. 24 is a perspective view of a further alternative embodiment of a storage bag rack system constructed in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0044]FIG. 25 is a perspective view of a further alternative embodiment of a storage bag rack system which is similar to the embodiment of FIG. 24;

[0045]FIG. 26 is a frontal view of one embodiment of a re-sealable bag with segmented pockets constructed in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0046]FIG. 26 is a frontal view of another embodiment of a re-sealable bag with full width pockets constructed in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0047]FIG. 27 is a side view of a further embodiment of a re-sealable bag with pockets on the front side of the back layer and the back side of the back layer constructed in accordance with the present disclosure;

[0048]FIG. 28 is a frontal view of an further embodiment of a re-sealable bag constructed in accordance with the present disclosure; and

[0049]FIG. 29 is a frontal view of an embodiment of a still further bag constructed in accordance with the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0050] The presently disclosed novel storage bag rack system is uniquely advantageous in that the various parts making up the rack system are completely separable such that the rack system may be entirely disassembled for storage, cleaning or shipping. Although the presently disclosed storage bag rack system will be described and illustrated herein in connection with specific embodiments, such as may be used in the food service or domestic kitchen environment, it will be readily appreciated and understood by one skilled in the art, however, that the presently disclosed storage bag rack system may be adapted for usage in other storage applications as well. For example, the presently disclosed storage bag rack system may be used either as presented in the embodiments herein or by adaptation in the medical field for storage and inventory of surgical sponges or other articles. Additionally, the presently disclosed storage bag rack system may be used in the retail industry for placing loose bulk items in bags for purchase. One specific example would be in stores wherein small items are sold in bulk and may be placed in the bags held by the presently disclosed storage bag rack system.

[0051] Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a storage bag rack system 100 is shown which includes a base portion 110 and a vertical support portion 112 which includes a support member such as bar 114 mounted transversely near the top of vertical support portion 112. Base portion 110 and vertical support portion 112 may be formed of any suitable rigid material such as for example wood, plastic, or metal. One preferred material particularly for the food service environment is a chopping block material such as, for example, High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) which is desirable for its harder characteristic and its being more heat resistant. As best illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, bar 114 is preferably removably mounted to vertical support portion 112 by way of any suitable known removable mounting technique such as, for example, by a “peg-board” style mount wherein bar 114 is formed of rod stock with end portions 114 a and 114 b being bent at substantially right angles such that end portions 114 a and 114 b may be inserted in through holes formed in vertical support portion 112.

[0052] Vertical support portion 112 may be removably mounted to base portion 110 by any suitable known technique. For example, as shown in FIG. 3 base portion may be provided with a plurality of vertical pins 116 secured therein. Pins 116 may be steel pins each having a flange portion formed between the ends thereof at a predetermined position uniform to each of pins. In this manner, when pins 116 are positioned in a series of mounting holes formed in linear alignment across the surface of base portion 110 the flange portions facilitate the upper portions of pins 116 extending a uniform distance above the surface of base portion 110. Corresponding receiving holes are formed in the bottom of vertical support portion 112 to receive pins 116. Preferably, pins 116 and the receiving holes are sized sufficiently such that vertical support portion 112 is prevented from substantial movement relative to base portion 110. Alternatively, the mounting holes formed in base portion 110 may be formed as through-holes such that pins similar to pins 116 except without the flange portions, could be provided on a steel strip base. A complimentary slot (not shown) formed on the bottom surface of base portion 110 would receive the steel strip base and may preferably be flush to the bottom surface of base portion 110.

[0053] In use as shown in FIGS. 4-7, a pad 118 (FIGS. 1 and 3) of storage bags are supported by rod 114, for example by hanging pad 118, of storage bag rack system 100. Pad 118 preferably includes a series of plastic bags bound together with a binding which includes a sturdy extended tail portion 118 a which is readily retained by bar 114 to support the pad of bags in a vertical manner on rack system 100. Preferably, the individual bags are readily separable from the pad by way of, for example, perforations formed near the top of each bag. Examples of bag configurations that may be utilized with the presently disclosed rack system are shown and described in applicant's copending provisional U.S. patent application Ser. No. 60/202,959 filed May 9, 2000, the entire contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference. Details of various bag embodiments are addressed in greater detail further herein with respect to the embodiments of FIGS. 26A through 29. Bags utilized herein may be made of a film material which for food applications in particular is formed from virgin resins and is certified for food contact and will stand up to temperatures ranging from −50 degrees Farenheit to +220 degrees Farenheit without a breakdown of the bag seals or material.

[0054] In one illustrative example of the specific structure of a bag attached to a pad of bags used for the storage bag rack system, a cuff 120 is formed on the outboard side of the outermost bag of pad 118 mounted on rack system 100 facilitates the ability of the user to grasp the cuff with one hand, as shown in FIG. 4, and pulling to open the bag enclosure thereby enabling the user to fill the bag with material contained either directly in the free hand of the user, FIG. 5, or poured from a container held in the free hand of the user (not shown). Therefore, the presently disclosed storage bag rack system facilitates a single user being able to fill a flexible bag with material such as liquids, powders or solid objects without requiring additional assistance from another person to hold the bag and maintain the bag in an open configuration.

[0055] After the desired materials have been placed in the bag, a peel away release liner such as cover strip 122 is pulled away to expose a pre-applied strip of adhesive such as cold seal 124, as shown in FIG. 6. One suitable adhesive is preferably a hot melt synthetic and is certified for food contact. Cold seal 124 may be positioned on the back panel of the bag in vertical alignment with cuff 120 so that prior to separation from pad 118 the user can press the front panel of the bag at the level of cuff 120 against the back panel of the bag along cold seal 122 to seal the bag closed in a fluid-tight manner. Alternatively, other modes of sealing bags may be utilized, such as, a tongue and groove closure seal may be provided either in place of or in addition to cold seal 124.

[0056] Once the bag has been sealed, the user simply tears the bag away from pad 118, as shown in FIG. 7. Storage bag rack system 100 is then ready to be used again to seal other objects in individual bags. Once the supply of bags attached to pad 118 is depleted, pad 118 is simply removed from storage bag rack system 100 and another pad of bags is mounted on the rack system as previously noted.

[0057] Referring now to FIGS. 8 and 9, a further embodiment of a storage bag rack system designated by reference numeral 200 and includes a pair of “L” shaped support members 210, 212 which are fastened together by any suitable fasteners such as threaded faster 214. Support members 210,212 may be formed of any suitable materials providing sufficient rigidity to support the weight of one or more pads of bags as well as material poured into at least one of the bags. For example, support members 210, 212 may be formed of metal, plastic, wood or other suitably strong materials. In an environment where the storage rack system is being used in connection with food storage, support members 210,212 are preferably formed of materials which are certified for use in contact with food.

[0058] Preferably, support members 210,212 are maintained in a predetermined spaced relationship to facilitate receiving a pad of bags on one or both sides of rack system 200. The spaced relationship may be readily accomplished by providing spacer elements 216 between support members 210, 212.

[0059] Top edges 218, 220 of support members. 210,212 are configured and dimensioned to support a header portion of a pad of bags, similar to the illustration of the embodiment of FIG. 1. The edges may be flat along the length thereof as illustrated by edge 220 or may include a notched section such as notched portion 218 a to receive a header portion of a pad of bags and prevent substantial lateral movement of the pad of bags. As for the embodiment of FIG. 1, similar types of bag pads may be utilized for the embodiment of FIG. 8.

[0060] Additionally, additional pad retention areas may be provided for various sized pads of bags, such as, for example, retention opening 222 which is formed through support member 210 below top edge 218 and above a lateral base portion 224. Similar features may also be provided on support member 212 between top edge 220 and lateral base portion 226.

[0061] Referring now to FIGS. 10-12 a material dispersing member such as funnel 228 is provided for removable hanging from the storage bag rack system of the present disclosure. Funnel 228 facilitates easier and more reliable handling and transferring of fluids, especially very hot or very cold fluids, from a vessel such as a pot or pitcher into a storage bag. Funnel 228 is preferably formed of an inexpensive material such as molded plastic which is durable and dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. However, other suitable materials and processes may be utilized to form funnel 228 in a manner to provide sufficient strength and support during the filling process.

[0062] Funnel 228 includes a hanging structure such as an overhang portion. One form of such structure may be provided as hook 230. Hook 230 is formed on the upper rear portion of back wall 234 and extends along the width thereof to facilitate removable hanging from a support structure. For example, using the rack system embodiments disclosed herein, funnel 228 may be hung on bar 114 of the embodiment of FIG. 1, from a slot such as slot 222 or from a top edge portion such as top edge 218 a (FIG. 8). In this manner, funnel 228 is maintained in a stable relationship relative to the storage bag supported by a storage bag rack system such as any of the embodiments disclosed herein.

[0063] As shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, a hopper portion 232 is configured and dimensioned to generally direct materials poured in funnel 228 towards back wall 234. This feature is uniquely advantageous in that it directs the material being poured into funnel 228 toward the vertical portion of support member 210 or 212 to provide a more stable and controlled pouring of material into the bag.

[0064] Hopper portion 232 includes a wide rectangular opening at the top to enable more reliable and quicker transfer of fluids or powder-type materials from a vessel into a storage bag. An outer wall 232 a of hopper portion 232 angles toward a material discharge portion such as chute 236 formed at the bottom of funnel 228. This feature is uniquely advantageous in that it facilitates easy insertion of funnel 228 into a bag on the pad of bags. Additionally, the angled surface of outer wall 232 a serves to cam the storage bag open.

[0065] In use as part of the storage bag rack system of the present disclosure, funnel 228 permits the user to pour materials such as liquids, powdered substances, or a large quantity of any type of items small enough to fit through chute 236 into a bag on the rack system while having both hands free to control the vessel from which the material is being poured.

[0066] Referring to FIGS. 13A-13D, an alternative embodiment of a material dispersing member is shown generally as funnel 250. Funnel may be formed of similar materials as noted above for funnel 228. Funnel 250 is also configured and dimensioned to be suspended from a storage bag rack system. In particular, funnel 250 includes a hook 252 formed on the upper rear portion of back wall 254 and extends along the width thereof, as shown in FIGS. 13B and 13C, to facilitate removable hanging or suspension from a support structure as described above for funnel 228.

[0067] A hopper portion 256 is configured and dimensioned to generally direct materials poured in funnel 228 towards a chute 258 which, as indicated by the double-headed arrow of FIG. 13D, forms a passageway from the bottom of hopper portion 256 to an opening defined at the bottom of funnel 250. Hopper portion 256 is defined by wall portions 256 a, 256 b, 256 c, 256 d, 256 e and back wall 254. As best illustrated in the bottom plan view of FIG. 13B and the top plan view of FIG. 13C, each of the wall portions which define hopper portion 256 are angled toward the relatively smaller opening defined by chute 258. This feature is uniquely advantageous in that it directs the material being poured into funnel 228 toward the opening of chute 258 as indicated by the arrows to provide a more stable and controlled pouring of material into the bag.

[0068] In use as shown in FIG. 13A, funnel 250 is suspended from a storage back rack system such as system 500 (described in greater detail herein) such that the lower portion of funnel 250 including chute 258 extends into the opening of a bag 260. Thereafter, the user simply pours material from a vessel such as pitcher P into hopper portion 256. Any suitable materials may be poured into funnel 250, such as, for example, a liquid, powder or other substance which may readily pass through the opening of chute 258.

[0069] Referring to FIGS. 14-16, an alternative embodiment of a storage bag rack system designated as storage bag rack system 300 is similar to storage bag rack system 200 and further includes a utility area 340 formed below support members 310,312. Utility area 340 may be fully or partially enclosed and may be used to position various items in close proximity to storage bag rack system 300. For example, a vacuum pump assembly 342 may be provided and positioned in utility area 340 to facilitate evacuation of air from storage bags prior to sealing. Vacuum pump assembly 342 may be any commercially available system which is designed for evacuating excess air from within storage bags. Optionally, as shown in FIG. 15 other materials may be dispensed in addition to the storage bags on pads suspended from rack system (not shown in FIG. 15) as previously described for other embodiments herein. For example, a roll of paper towel material or a supply of moist towelettes may be stored in and dispensed from utility area 340. In the case where utility area 340 is enclosed, access may be provided to utility area 340 by, for example, a removable panel 344 as shown in FIG. 14 or by other suitable access techniques, such as shown in FIG. 16, for example, by providing hinge mounts 346 for support members 310,312.

[0070] Referring now to FIG. 17, a further embodiment of a storage bag rack system constructed in accordance with the present disclosure is shown as storage bag rack system 400 which is adapted for mounting on a substantially vertical surface, for example, a wall “W” or cabinet door (not shown). Storage bag rack system 400 includes support members 410 and 412 which are similar to the vertical portions of support members 210 and 212 of the embodiment of FIG. 8. Accordingly, those features will not be described in detail herein. Instead of lateral base portion 224 included on rack system 200, rack system 400 is provided with lateral base portion 424, which may extend from support 410 as a fixed member or may be pivotally attached thereto as shown in FIG. 17.

[0071] Referring now to FIGS. 18-25, several additional embodiments of storage bag rack systems constructed in accordance with the present disclosure. In FIGS. 18 and 19, storage bag rack systems 500 and 500A are shown, respectively, each being adapted to support a pad of storage bags (not shown) either directly thereon or by a support stand 513. One type of pad of bags which may be used is pad 118 shown and described in connection with the embodiment of FIG. 1.

[0072] Storage bag rack systems 500 and 500A each include a support member 512 which is secured to a base portion 510 a and extends upwardly away from the base. A rigid, pad support-stand 513 is provided and is adapted for removable attachment to support 512. Support stand 513 defines mount portions such as slots 517 and 519 formed laterally across a back wall of support stand 513. Slots 517 and 519 facilitate mounting of a pad of bags such as bag pad 118 in a vertical orientation relative to base portion 510 a. Alternatively, a bag pad such as pad 118 may be mounted directly in a slot formed in support 512. Support 512 is preferably formed of a suitable material to provide sufficient strength and support for a bag pad as well as the weight of material inserted into a bag retained on the bag pad. For example, support 512 may be formed of plastic or metal and may be secured to base 510 a by any suitable technique for example, fasteners or bonding. As shown, support 512 is curved such that it defines an arcuate overhang 512 a which may be used to support a roll of paper towels “T” or the like by way of a support surface (not shown) extending from overhang 512 a, the support surface being adapted to support the roll of towels.

[0073] A base portion extension 510 b extends from base portion 510 a and on rack system 500 is formed integrally therewith. In rack system 500A base portion extension 510 b is formed separately from base portion 510 a to facilitate ease of cleaning and storage thereof. Base portions 510 a and 510 b may be formed of similar materials as noted above for base portion 110 of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

[0074] Referring now to FIGS. 20 and 21, storage bag rack system 600 illustrates a further embodiment constructed in accordance with the present disclosure. Rack system 600 is similar in overall configuration to rack systems 500 and 500A and in that it supports a pad of bags such as bag pad 118 previously described. However, rack system 600 includes a support 612 which is configured the same a support 512 except that support 612 is formed of wireframe construction and is securely mounted in an “I” frame base 610. Support 612 includes a crossbar 615 which may be of the same material as for support 612 but alternatively support and crossbar 615 may be formed of stainless steel for environments which require it, for example, medical environments. Crossbar 615 facilitates maintaining support stand 613 in a vertical orientation relatively fixed to support 612. For example, a flange (not shown) formed on the rear side of support stand 613 may be provided to enable removable hanging of support stand 613 from support 612. A separate base portion 610 is provided to be positioned under rack system either completely as shown in FIG. 20 or to the user's preference. Base portion 610 may be formed of similar materials as for base 110 described previously herein.

[0075]FIGS. 22 and 23 illustrate an embodiment designated as storage bag rack systems 700 and 700A which are the same as rack systems 500 and 500A, respectively, in all regards except that support 712 is reversed. In this manner a greater area of space is afforded the user between pad 718 and support 712.

[0076]FIGS. 24 and 25 illustrate further embodiments, designated as storage bag rack systems 800 and 800A. Each of rack systems 800 and 800A include a base portion 810 and a support member 812. In rack system 800, base portion 810 is connected to support 812 either permanently or removably. In the case where it is removably connected, it may be accomplished similar to the manner described and illustrated in connection with the embodiment of rack system 100 of FIG. 1. In rack system 800A base portion 810 is completely separate from support 812 and thereby may be moved relative to support 812 at any time by the user. Base portion 810 may be formed similar to base portion 110. Support 812 includes a planar central section which includes an upper edge 812 c which acts as a support surface for a pad of bags 818, as shown in FIG. 24. Additionally, support 812 includes an arcuate extension 812 a which defines a storage area to vertically store a roll of towel material “T”. On the opposing end of support 812 a utility storage area is defined by a smaller arcuate extension 812 b. This area may be used, for example, to support a knife, scissors or the like.

[0077] In use, for each of the embodiments of FIGS. 18-25 materials may be poured into bags retained on pad 818 in the manner set forth in FIGS. 4-7 or as shown and described in connection with FIG. 13A.

[0078] Referring now to FIGS. 26A-29, a series of embodiments of various bags and bag pads will now be described in detail. In FIGS. 26A and 26B, a re-sealable bag 1000 generally includes a front layer 1030 and a first backing layer (not shown) forming a plurality of pockets 1050.

[0079] Bags 1000, in one preferred configuration, are assembled into a tear away pad type format wherein each pad includes a predetermined number of overlaying bags 1000 with connected binding portions 1070. Binding portions 1070 share a common series of holes 1072 that are configured to structurally support the predetermined number of bags 1000 when suspended from a support structure such as one or more cantilevered rods, for example. Bags 1000 are supported through at least one hole 1072. Each bag 1000 is removably detachable from its respective binding portion 1070 by transverse perforations 1075 that form a detachable segment that can be above or below holes 1072, depending on the configuration.

[0080] Front side 1030, forms at least one column or row of standard sized pockets 1050 configured for a particular standard sized article, for example, surgical sponges may be placed in pockets 1050 to facilitate inventory tracking of surgical sponges during a surgical procedure. As a result of the practical need for various sizes of pockets, the sponge counting bag 1000 in an alternative configuration departs from a standard set of uniform rows and columns to accommodate a mixture of different standard sized pockets for specific preferred applications. In one preferred configuration sponge bag 1000 employs a clear front pocket layer 1030 with a colored back pocket layer to identify specific preferred pocket 1050 uses such as a blue background for cap pockets and a white background for “4ื4” sponge pockets, for example.

[0081] Pockets 1050 are preferably formed by heat sealing or any other common manufacturing technique that achieves the required level of strength suitable to form open ended pockets between front layer 1030 and the back layer (not shown). A heat seal, for example, could also be employed to segment a single column of pockets into pairs or greater numbers of pockets depending upon the intended application. Pockets 1050 may be formed in any suitable geometric shape, such as a semi-circle, square, rectangle, or triangular, but contain an opening adjacent upper edge 1052 that is sealingly secured by at least one seal 1055.

[0082] Seal 1055 is preferably a re-sealable tacky type seal, a release tape seal, a cold seal, zip lock seal, or any other similar sealing device. Seal 1055 includes at least one sealing portion positioned on the inside below upper edge 1052 of at least one layer of pocket 1050. In one preferred configuration, pocket 1050 has at least one cold seal 1055 that can be unsealed and re-sealed in the presence of moisture without losing water tight integrity.

[0083] A protection cuff 1054 is positioned on each pocket below upper edge 1052. Protection cuff 1054 is heat sealed on its upper and two lateral sides to form an inverted pocket. Protection cuff 1054 is grasped by a user with one hand and pulled out and away with front layer 1030 from the back layer. In this manner, a protective barrier is provided between the user's hand and the material being placed in pocket 1050. Pocket 1050 is then opened wide enough so that material being inserted such as a sponge or other disposable entity can be easily placed in the opening. Alternative configurations of protection cuff 1054 include being sealed in position only on upper edge 1053 and cuff 1054 containing at least one large hole forming a handle or finger holes to improve the ability of the user to grasp the cuff from below or above and keep the pocket open. In the alternative, cuff 1054 may be sealed on its two lateral sides, but not on upper edge 1053 to form a flexible ribbon type handle or gripping portion. In a further alternative configuration, protection cuff 1054 may be configured to define a hole 1057 that forms a handle suitable for carrying bag 1000.

[0084] Pockets 1050 may be formed with at least one gusset 1056. Gusset 1056 is preferably positioned on at least one side. However, in alternative configurations, gussets 1056 are positionable on any portion of the front layer or back layer of pocket 1050. Gussets 1056 typically include at least one folded layer of material that is expandable to accommodate a greater volume in each pocket 1050. This also allows configurations of bag 1000 with an increased density of pockets on a given size of bag. In the alternative, pockets 1050 may be formed by a simple overlaying front layer 1030 with a predetermined increased length of material than the back layer pocket dimension that creates a front layer 1030 convex bulge in pocket 50 away from the back layer. Both gusset 56 and increased-length pocket configurations accommodate an increased volume and simplify placing material in pocket 1050 in a single motion. In a further alternative configuration, pockets 1050 are formed by a single overlay of front layer 1030. Any one bag 1000 can employ any one or all of the above configurations of bag 50 to support the needs of a particular application.

[0085] Bags 100 if used as sponge counting bags, are formed of a medical grade plastic material that is inherently anti-static or contains an anti-static treatment. Alternatively, if the bags are to be used in connection with the storage of food products they can be formed of material approved for contact with food and which permits rapid changes in temperature such as those created by freezing the bag and its contents and thereafter placing the bag into boiling water. Bags 1000, in a preferred configuration, may also be treated with an anti-bacterial agent. Portions of bag 1000 may be formed of a clear or colored plastic, or combinations thereof to identify the different intended applications for pockets 1050. In addition, pockets 1050 can be labeled to identify their intended application.

[0086] Referring now to FIG. 27, in an alternative configuration, bag 2000 is also in a tear away binding 2270 type format that employs a back layer 2210 between two front layers 2230 forming pockets 2250 on both the front and back sides of bag 2000. Gussets 2256 are shown on both sides of pockets 2250 in this configuration, but could be formed on the center of the pocket or on a single side. This configuration preferably has a lower binding portion 2274 that is retained with bag 2000 when it is detached from the support structure by separating at perforated segment 2275 after a first side 2290 is full. After detaching from upper binding portion 2270, bag 2000 is then reversed, and replaced on the support structure using holes 2272 of lower binding portion 2274 to expose the second unused side 2292. This configuration can also include a second perforated or scored segment 2277 that enables a user to detach lower binding 2274 from the remainder of bag 2000 when it is full of stored material. Second perforated segment 2277 is configured such that first perforated segment 2275 is easier to remove than second perforated 2277.

[0087] Referring now to FIG. 28, storage bag 3000 includes a front layer 3330 and a back layer (not shown) forming a binding portion 3370 and a pocket 3350 with at least two sides and an upper edge 3352.

[0088] Storage bags 3000, in one preferred configuration, are assembled into a bound pad type format wherein each pad includes a predetermined number of bags, for example, 50 overlaying storage bags 3000 with connected binding portions 3370. Binding portions 3370 share a common series of holes that are configured to structurally support predetermined number of bags 3000 when suspended from a support structure such as any of the previously disclosed embodiment or by one or more cantilevered rods, for example, through at least one hole 3372. Each bag 3000 is removably detachable from its respective binding portion 3370. In an alternative configuration, a portion of binding 3370 is retained with storage bag 3000 and contains a plurality of holes 3372. While one preferred quantity of bags 3000 per pad is 50, the quantity of storage bags 3000 in a given pad can vary with the application of storage bag 3000 and is dependent upon factors such as the dimensional configuration of the bag and the intended application of the user.

[0089] Each storage bag 3000 contains a middle portion 3390 that is positioned between the binding 3370 and the bag 3350. Middle portion 3390 is removably attached to binding 3370 by a first perforated segment 3392 that traverses the width of bag 3000. First perforations 3392 take the form of a number of punctures through front layer 3330 and back layer (not shown), but can be any other similar mechanism that provides a suitable degree of bond strength between binding 3370 and middle portion 3390 and yet allows middle portion 3390 with bag 3000 to be conveniently separated from binding 3370.

[0090] Middle portion 3390 includes a first seal 3355, such as a cold seal, below first edge 3352 on the inside portions of the front and back layers that forms a liquid tight seal even in the presence of moisture. In addition, middle portion 3350 contains at least one protection cuff 3354 similar to that described above for bag 1000, but extends over the pocket 3350, in a preferred configuration. Alternative configurations include a second protection cuff 3354 positioned on the back layer. Additional alternative configurations of protection cuff 3354 include those described above for bag 1000.

[0091] Bag 3000 also includes a second perforated or scored segment 3394 that is positioned between middle portion 3390 and bag 350. This second perforated segment 3394 is used to separate pocket 3350 from middle portion 3390 and forms a second edge 3353. Pocket 3350 includes a second seal 3357 positioned just below upper edge 3354, such as a zip-lock mechanical type pressure seal for example, between the front and back layers. Bag 3000 is preferably configured such that the first perforated layer is easier to remove than the second perforated layer.

[0092] Referring now to FIG. 29, storage bag 4000 includes a back layer (not shown) and a front layer 4430 forming a binding 4470 and a pocket 4450 with at least two sides and an upper edge 4452.

[0093] Storage bags 4000, in one preferred configuration, are assembled into a bound pad type format wherein each pad includes a predetermined number of bags, for example, 50 overlaying storage bags 4000 with connected binding portions 4470. Binding portions 4470 share a common series of holes that are configured to structurally support the predetermined number of bags 4000 when suspended from by a support structure such as one or more cantilevered rods, for example, through at least one hole 4472. Each bag 4000 is removably detachable from its respective binding portion 4470. In an alternative configuration, a portion of binding 4470 is retained with storage bag 4400 after being detached from binding portion 4470 and contains a plurality of holes 4472. While one preferred quantity of bags 4000 per pad is 50, the quantity of storage bags 4000 in a given pad can vary with the application of storage bag 4000 and is dependent upon factors such as the dimensional configuration of the bag and the intended application of the user.

[0094] Each storage bag 4000 contains at least one perforated segment 4492 that traverses the width of bag 4000. Perforations 4492 take the form of a number of at least partial punctures through front layer 4430 and the back layer, but can be any other similar mechanism that provides a suitable degree of bond strength between binding 4470 and bag 4000 and yet allows bag 400 to be conveniently separated from binding 4470.

[0095] Bag portion 4450 includes a seal 4455, such as a cold seal, positioned below perforated segment 4492. Seal 4455 is positioned near first edge 4452 on the inside portions of the front and back layers that preferably forms a liquid tight seal even in the presence of moisture. Bag 4000 is preferably configured for liquid storage, but can also store solid objects or powdered substances.

[0096] In addition, bag 4000 in a preferred configuration contains at least one protection cuff 4454 positioned below seal 4455. Cuff 4454 includes an opening 4457 which serves to define a handle in cuff 4454. In this manner, after the bag has been sealed opening 4457 may be grasped either by hand or by an instrument as a way of lifting, for example, lifting the bag out of boiling water or carrying the bag. Alternatively, cuff 4454 can include configurations such as those described previously for the bags 1000 and 2000.

[0097] While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various modifications in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention. Accordingly, modifications, such as those suggested above, but not limited thereto are to be considered within the scope of the presently disclosed storage bag rack system.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7926669 *Dec 28, 2005Apr 19, 2011Better Bags, Inc.Rack for holding packs of plastic bags
US8727620Sep 28, 2012May 20, 2014S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.Storage bag with dimple features
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/554, 383/37
International ClassificationB65D33/00, A47F13/08, B65B67/12
Cooperative ClassificationB65D33/002, A47F13/085, B65B67/1266
European ClassificationA47F13/08B, B65B67/12M, B65D33/00C