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Publication numberUS20040026439 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/399,275
PCT numberPCT/GB2001/004545
Publication dateFeb 12, 2004
Filing dateOct 12, 2001
Priority dateOct 17, 2000
Publication number10399275, 399275, PCT/2001/4545, PCT/GB/1/004545, PCT/GB/1/04545, PCT/GB/2001/004545, PCT/GB/2001/04545, PCT/GB1/004545, PCT/GB1/04545, PCT/GB1004545, PCT/GB104545, PCT/GB2001/004545, PCT/GB2001/04545, PCT/GB2001004545, PCT/GB200104545, US 2004/0026439 A1, US 2004/026439 A1, US 20040026439 A1, US 20040026439A1, US 2004026439 A1, US 2004026439A1, US-A1-20040026439, US-A1-2004026439, US2004/0026439A1, US2004/026439A1, US20040026439 A1, US20040026439A1, US2004026439 A1, US2004026439A1
InventorsSimon Bolton
Original AssigneeBolton Simon M.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Dispenser and pre-formed bags therefor
US 20040026439 A1
Abstract
A dispenser (10) for pre-formed bags has a base (11) and a substantially upright wall (12) over which the bas are folded over the upright wall. A first portion of the bag stack (1) containing the base end of the bags is disposed on and supported by one part of the wall and a second portion of the bag stack containing the mouth end is disposed on and supported by another part of the wall. The two bag portions are separated by the wall in a direction transverse to the fold and depend downwardly towards the base of the dispenser. A rear face of the wall has a retention hook (16) that is received in aligned apertures (7) in retention tabs of the bags. The retention hook helps to locate the bags correctly on the dispenser and retains the stack of bags thereon. When the main body of the uppermost bag in the stack is pulled away from the dispenser it becomes detached from retention portions along a perforated line. The retention members are retained on the retention hook. The dispenser that is easy to load and re-fill, it is compact, easy to use and does not need separate cartridges or containers to hold the bags, or glue spots between adjacent bags to promote their opening.
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Claims(69)
1. The combination of a dispenser and a stack of pre-formed flattened bags, the bags of each stack comprising a main body with front and rear walls, a closed base end, an opposite mouth end, and a retention portion detachably connected to the main body adjacent to the mouth end, the dispenser comprising a base and a substantially upright wall the bags being disposed over the upright wall such that they are folded over the upright wall about a transverse bend intermediate the mouth and base ends whereby a first portion of the bag stack containing the base end of the bags is disposed on and supported by a first part of the wall and a second portion of the bag stack containing the mouth end is disposed on and supported by a second part of the wall, the two portions being separated by the upright wall in a direction transverse to the fold and depending downwardly towards the base of the dispenser, and a retention member on the second part of the upright wall, the retention member being received in aligned apertures in the retention portions of the bags so as to retain the stack of bags on the dispenser such that when the main body of the uppermost bag in the stack is pulled away from the dispenser it becomes detached from retention portions which are retained by the retention members.
2. The combination according to claim 1, wherein the wall has an arcuate surface between the first and second parts of the wall.
3. The combination according to claim 2, wherein the arcuate surface between the first and second parts of the wall is located at the uppermost point of the wall.
4. The combination according to claim 1, 2 or 3, wherein a portion of at least one part of the wall is inclined relative to the base.
5. The combination according to claim 4, wherein the inclined portion is an upper portion of the second part of the wall.
6. The combination according to claim 5 wherein the inclined portion is inclined by 20 to 90 relative to the base.
7. The combination according to claim 5 or 6, wherein the retention member is located on the inclined upper portion of the second part of the wall.
8. The combination according to any one of claims 1 to 7, wherein the retention portion is connected to the main body of the bag at lines of weakening.
9. The combination according to any preceding claim, wherein the bags are folded over the upright wall so that the first portion is longer than the second portion.
10. The combination according to any preceding claim, wherein the retention member has a hooked configuration to retain the stack of bags against sliding movement relative to the upright wall.
11. The combination according to claim 10, wherein the retention member comprises a first portion that is attached to the upright wall and extends substantially perpendicular thereto and a second portion that is inclined to the first portion.
12. The combination according to any preceding claim, wherein the retention portion of the bag is integral with the main body of the bag.
13. The combination according to claim 12, wherein the retention portion is defined by a substantially U-shaped weakening line.
14. The combination according to any preceding claim, wherein the dispenser has a trough for receipt of the base end of the bags when located on the dispenser.
15. The combination according to claim 14, wherein the dispenser comprises a member extending upwardly from the base which in combination with the wall defines the trough.
16. The combination according to claim 15, wherein the height of the upwardly extending member is 0.5 to 0.9 times the height of the wall.
17. The combination according to claim 15, wherein the height of the upwardly extending member is 0.6 to 0.8 times the height of the wall.
18. The combination according to any one of claims 15, 16 or 17, wherein the upwardly extending member has a lip which projects away from the wall.
19. The combination according to any one of claims 15 to 18, wherein the uppermost edge of the upwardly extending member is arcuate.
20. The combination according to any one of claims 15 to 19, wherein the dispenser comprises a continuous sinuous member that forms the first and second parts of the wall, the trough and the upwardly extending member.
21. The combination according to any one of claims 15 to 20, wherein the trough is flanked by a pair of side walls which are connected to the upwardly extending member and the wall.
22. The combination according to claim 14, wherein the trough is defined within the base of the dispenser.
23. The combination according to any preceding claim, wherein the upright wall is flanked by a pair of side members and the bags are disposed over the upright wall between the side members.
24. The combination according to claim 23, wherein the side members are configured to restrict access to the sides of the bags.
25. The combination according to any preceding claim, wherein the bags each have handles adjacent to the mouth end and the retention portion.
26. The combination according to claim 25, wherein the retention portion is detachably connected to the main body adjacent to the mouth end and detachably connected to the handles.
27. The combination according to claim 26, wherein the means of detachable connection is a continuous line of weakening.
28. The combination according to claim 27, wherein the continuous line of weakening is a continuous line of perforations.
29. The combination according to claim 28, wherein a perforation defines each corner of the retention portion nearest to the mouth end of the bag.
30. The combination according to any one of claims 26 to 29, wherein the length of the detachable connection between the sides of the retention portion and the handles is 0.1 to 0.24 times the length of the handles.
31. The combination according to any preceding claim wherein the apertures in the retention portions are elongate.
32. The combination according to claim 31, wherein the apertures are transverse to the longitudinal axis of the bags.
33. The combination according to any preceding claim, wherein the distance from the apertures in the retention portions to the transverse bend in the stack of bags is 0.1 to 0.4 times the distance from the transverse bend to the base end of the stack of bags.
34. The combination according to any one of claims 1 to 32, wherein the distance from the apertures in the retention portions to the transverse bend in the stack of bags is 0.2 to 0.3 times the distance from the transverse bend to the base end of the stack of bags.
35. The combination according to any preceding claim, wherein the retention portions are secured together by hot pin welds.
36. A dispenser for dispensing an article from a pre-formed flattened stack of such articles, the dispenser comprising a base, a substantially upright wall having first and second parts, and a retention member on the second part of the upright wall to retain the article on the dispenser prior to being dispensed, wherein, when in use, the articles are disposed over the upright wall such that one portion of the article stack is disposed on and supported by the first part of the wall and a second portion of the article stack is disposed on and supported by the second part of the wall.
37. The combination according to claim 36, wherein the wall has an arcuate surface between the first and second parts of the wall.
38. The combination according to claim 37, wherein the arcuate surface between the first and second parts of the wall is located at the uppermost point of the wall.
39. A dispenser according to claim 36, 37 or 38, wherein a portion of at least one part of the wall is inclined relative to the base.
40. A dispenser according to claim 39, wherein the inclined portion is an upper portion of the second part of the wall.
41. A dispenser according to claim 40, wherein the inclined portion is inclined by 20 to 90 relative to the base.
42. A dispenser according to claim 40 or 41, wherein the retention member is located on the inclined upper portion of the second part of the wall.
43. A dispenser according to any one of claims 36 to 42, wherein the retention member has a hooked configuration
44. A dispenser according to claim 43, wherein the retention member comprises a first portion that is attached to the upright wall and extends substantially perpendicular thereto and a second portion that is inclined to the first portion.
45. A dispenser according to any one of claims 36 to 44, wherein the dispenser has a trough for receipt of the base end of the articles when located on the dispenser.
46. A dispenser according to claim 45, wherein the dispenser comprises a member extending upwardly from the base which in combination with the wall defines the trough.
47. A dispenser according to claim 46, wherein the height of the upwardly extending member is 0.5 to 0.9 times the height of the wall.
48. A dispenser according to claim 46, wherein the height of the upwardly extending member is 0.6 to 0.8 times the height of the wall.
49. A dispenser according to any one of claims 46, 47 or 48 wherein the upwardly extending member has a lip which projects away from the wall.
50. A dispenser according to any one of claims 46 to 49, wherein the uppermost edge of the upwardly extending member is arcuate.
51. A dispenser according to any one of claims 46 to 50, wherein the dispenser comprises a continuous sinuous member that forms the first and second parts of the wall, the trough and the upwardly extending member.
52. A dispenser according to any one of claims 46 to 51, wherein the trough is flanked by a pair of side walls which are connected to the upwardly extending member and the wall.
53. A dispenser according to claim 45, wherein the trough is defined within the base of the dispenser.
54. A dispenser according to any one of claims 36 to 53, wherein the upright wall is flanked by a pair of side members between which, when in use, the articles are disposed.
55. A dispenser according to claim 54, wherein the side members are shaped such that, when in use, access to the sides of the articles is restricted.
56. A stack of preformed flattened bags suitable for being dispensed from a dispenser, each bag comprising a main body with front and rear walls, a closed base end, an opposite mouth end, a retention portion having an aperture which, when in use, is suitable for receipt of a retention member on the dispenser, and handles adjacent to the mouth end and retention portion, wherein the retention portion is detachably connected to the main body adjacent to the mouth and detachably connected to a portion of each handle nearest to the mouth at a continuous line of weakening.
57. A stack of pre-formed flattened bags according to claim 56, wherein the continuous line of weakening is a continuous line of perforations.
58. A stack of pre-formed flattened bags according to claim 57, wherein a perforation defines each corner of the retention portion nearest to the mouth end of the bag.
59. A stack of pre-formed flattened bags according to claim 56, 57 or 58, wherein the length of the detachable connection between the sides of the retention portion and the handles is 0.1 to 0.24 times the length of the handles.
60. A stack of pre-formed flattened bags according to any one of claims 56 to 59, wherein the retention portion of each bag is integral with the main body and the handles.
61. A stack of pre-formed flattened bags according to any one of claims 56 to 60, wherein the retention portion is defined by a substantially U-shaped weakening line.
62. A stack of pre-formed flattened bags according to any one of claims 56 to 61, wherein the apertures in the retention portions are elongate.
63. A stack of pre-formed flattened bags according to claim 62, wherein the apertures are transverse to the longitudinal axis of the bags.
64. A stack of pre-formed flattened bags according to any one of claims 56 to 63, wherein the distance from the apertures in the retention portions to the transverse bend in the stack of bags is 0.1 to 0.4 times the distance from the transverse bend to the base end of the stack of bags.
65. A stack of pre-formed flattened bags according to any one of claims 56 to 63, wherein the distance from the apertures in the retention portions to the transverse bend in the stack of bags is 0.2 to 0.3 times the distance from the transverse bend to the base end of the stack of bags.
66. A stack of pre-formed flattened bags according to any one of claims 56 to 65, wherein the retention portions are secured together by hot pin welds.
67. The combination of a dispenser and a stack of pre-formed bags substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
68. A dispenser substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
69. A stack of pre-formed flattened bags substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
Description

[0001] The present invention relates to a dispenser of the kind from which a stack of pre-formed bags is dispensed individually and to a bag of the kind that can be used with such a dispenser.

[0002] Dispensers containing preformed bags are commonly provided in supermarkets and other retail outlets so that a customer may remove a bag from the dispenser in order to package loose products such as, for example, fruits and vegetables. Similar dispensers for carrier bags are provided at supermarket checkout tills and kiosks.

[0003] GB-A-2329629 discloses a stack of pre-formed bags and a dispenser therefor, each bag having an attachment part provided between the handles of the bag, the attachment part being joined to the handles by lines of weakening. A stack of bags is provided in a dispenser having retaining posts which pass through apertures in the attachment parts. A glue spot is provided between adjacent bags so that as the uppermost bag is pulled from the stack the mouth of the bag opens owing to the resistance of the glue at the back of the bag. When the glue spot breaks and the bag is torn from the attachment part along the lines of weakening, the bag can be removed from the stack.

[0004] WO-A-99/30985 describes a dispenser comprising a container that is pre-packaged with a stack of pre-formed bags. The bags have separable attachment means provided between the handles of the bags and the dispenser has a retaining header or posts that engage(s) with the attachment means. The bags are pulled one at a time through an access aperture such that each bag is separated from the attachment means which are retained by the header or posts. The container is typically used as a cartridge and is disposed of when the supply of bags therein has been depleted. The bags are transversely folded within the container so that the size of the container is reduced and so that there is a resistance to outward movement of the uppermost bag in the stack owing to the weight of the stack resting on the folded portion. When the bag is pulled out of the container a front wall tends to separate from the rear wall so as to open the bag mouth.

[0005] GB-A-2329170 describes a stack of bags for a dispenser in which each bag has a block header that bridges a pair of handles. The ends of the block header are connected to the handles via lines of weakness which extend over at least substantially 25% of the length of the handles as measured in a direction away from the mouth the bag. A region of adhesion is provided between each pair of adjacent bags near the mouths of the bags to promote opening of each bag as it is dispensed.

[0006] In an alternative embodiment the ends of the block header are connected to the handles via lines of weakness, but there is no connection over substantially the last 5% of the length of the handles as measured in a direction away from the mouth the bag. Again, a region of adhesion is provided between each pair of adjacent bags near the mouths of the bags to promote opening of each bag as it is dispensed.

[0007] GB-A-2309957 also describes a dispenser comprising a body, an anchor part with a catch to engage the stack of bags and a stack restraining means which bears against the stack of bags in such a way as to allow one side of the bag to be drawn past it while restraining the other side, thus holding the bag open for loading prior to removal from the dispenser.

[0008] GB-A-2269367 discloses a dispenser comprising a body part, an anchor part with a catch member to accommodate a stack of pre-formed bags or sheets, and a supporting surface to support a portion of the bags or sheets. In one embodiment of the dispenser the body part comprises an upright free-standing base with an integral inclined anchor plate which functions as the support surface. The catch member is located on the upper surface of the inclined anchor plate. The stack of bags is loaded on to the dispenser such that it passes up the anchor plate from the catch member on one side of the base, over the uppermost edge of the anchor plate and hangs down freely on the opposite side of the base. A bag is dispensed by the user grasping and pulling the free-hanging end of a bag from the stack.

[0009] GB-A-2303621 and GB-A-2335415 describe dispensers that were designed, at least in part, to overcome problems relating to the limited access available when loading stacks of bags or sheets on to certain embodiments of the dispenser disclosed in GB-A-2269367. Both dispensers address these problems by providing a pivotal connection between a portion of the body part and a portion of the anchor part. GB-A2303621 discloses a dispenser in which the degree of relative pivotal displacement is limited to less than 90 while the invention disclosed in GB-A-2335415 permits relative displacement of up to 180. In both cases, the way in which a bag or sheet is dispensed is similar to that described in GB-A-2269367 i.e. the user grasps and pulls the free-hanging end of a bag from the stack.

[0010] These known pre-formed bags and bag dispensers all suffer from the disadvantage that it is difficult to remove only one bag from the dispenser, as this typically must be done using a pinching movement to select only the top bag. The bags also do not always open on removal from the dispenser, meaning that the bag must be opened manually, which can be difficult as the walls of the bag tend to cling together by static electricity. The provision of glue spots between adjacent bags provides additional manufacturing cost and may lead to “daisy-chain” effects (more than one bag being dispensed at a time) if the amount of glue between adjacent bags is not sufficiently consistent. Furthermore, it is difficult to load the dispenser with bags. Where the bags are pre-packaged in a container, the initial packaging operation is a costly manufacturing process and as the containers are discarded when empty there is unnecessary waste.

[0011] It is an object of the present invention to provide a pre-formed bag and bag dispenser which obviate or mitigate the aforesaid disadvantages.

[0012] According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided the combination of a dispenser and a stack of pre-formed flattened bags, the bags of each stack comprising a main body with front and rear walls, a closed base end, an opposite mouth end, and a retention portion detachably connected to the main body adjacent to the mouth end, the dispenser comprising a base and a substantially upright wall the bags being disposed over the upright wall such that they are folded over the upright wall about a transverse bend intermediate the mouth and base ends whereby a first portion of the bag stack containing the base end of the bags is disposed on and supported by a first part of the wall and a second portion of the bag stack containing the mouth end is disposed on and supported by a second part of the wall, the two bag portions being separated by the wall in a direction transverse to the fold and depending downwardly towards the base of the dispenser, and a retention member on the second part of the upright wall, the retention member being received in aligned apertures in the retention portions of the bags so as to retain the stack of bags on the dispenser such that when the main body of the uppermost bag in the stack is pulled away from the dispenser it becomes detached from retention portions which are retained by the retention members.

[0013] The first aspect of the present invention provides for a pre-formed bag dispenser that is easy to load with bags in that it is simply necessary to place that stack of bags over the central wall and to locate the apertures in the retention portions over the retention member. The bags do not need to be pre-packaged before loading and can be placed on to the dispenser in either of two equivalent orientations. The dispenser is compact and yet the bags are readily visible and easy to dispense.

[0014] The feature of having both the first and second parts of the upright wall supporting portions of the bag stack significantly increases the ease with which a single bag can be grasped and dispensed. The supporting wall parts remove the need for the uppermost bag to be pinched or picked from the stack. Instead the supporting wall parts allow the user to drag the uppermost bag relative to the rest of the bags in the stack so as to initiate separation and then pull it from the dispenser. This feature also negates the requirement for glue spots between adjacent bags in the stack to promote bag opening. This is because as each bag is withdrawn from the dispenser the detachable connection between the main body of the bag and the retention portion on the front wall of the bag breaks before that on the rear wall thus separating the front and rear walls and opening the bag.

[0015] Preferably, the wall has an arcuate surface between the first and second parts of the wall which is preferably located at the uppermost point of the wall.

[0016] This arcuate edge provides additional support for the stack of bags and causes the transverse bend in the stack of bags to adopt a similar arcuate shape which provides a conveniently arched surface over which a user's hand can pass when dispensing a bag.

[0017] A portion of at least one part of the wall is preferably inclined relative to the base. The inclined portion may be an upper portion of the second part of the wall and may be inclined by 20 to 90 relative to the base. The retention member may be located on the inclined upper portion of the second part of the wall.

[0018] Provision of an inclined part to the wall increases both the degree to which that part can support the stack of bags and the ease of dispensing a single bag from the stack. Locating the retention member on the upper inclined portion of the second part of the wall provides a conveniently sized section of the uppermost bag either side of the transverse bend in the stack for engagement by the user.

[0019] The retention portion is preferably connected to the main body of the bag at lines of weakening so as to make detachment of the bags easy.

[0020] The bags are folded over the upright wall so that the first portion is longer than the second portion. This means that the weight of the first portion of the bags is greater than the second portion and serves to bias the stack relative to the dispenser in a direction that ensures the retention portions are securely engaged with the retention member. The retention member preferably has a hooked configuration that retains the stack of bags against sliding movement relative to the upright wall. The retention member may have a first portion that is attached to the upright wall and extends substantially perpendicular thereto and a second portion that is inclined to the first portion, although other configurations may be employed.

[0021] The retention portion of the bag is preferably integral with the main body of the bag and may be defined by a substantially U-shaped weakening line.

[0022] The dispenser preferably has a trough for receipt of the base end of the bags when located on the dispenser.

[0023] In a preferred embodiment the dispenser comprises a member extending upwardly from the base which in combination with the wall defines the trough. The height of the upwardly extending member may be 0.5 to 0.9 or more preferably 0.6 to 0.8 times the height of the wall. The upwardly extending member may have a lip which projects away from the wall and the uppermost edge of the upwardly extending member may be arcuate. The dispenser preferably comprises a continuous sinuous member that forms the first and second parts of the wall, the trough and the upwardly extending member. The sinuous member may be manufactured using any convenient material such as sheet steel.

[0024] The trough may be flanked by a pair of side walls which are connected to the upwardly extending member and the wall.

[0025] Providing an upright member and trough in this way restricts access to the base end of the stack of bags and directs a user to grasp the uppermost bag near to the transverse bend midway between the sides of the bags which is most efficient way in which to dispense a bag from the stack.

[0026] In an alternative embodiment the trough may be defined within the base of the dispenser.

[0027] The upright wall may be flanked by a pair of side members and the bags may be disposed over the upright wall between the side members. The side members may be configured to restrict access to the sides of the bags so that a user is guided away from less efficient methods of dispensing a bag from the stack.

[0028] The bags may each have handles adjacent to the mouth end and the retention portion. The retention portion may be detachably connected to the main body adjacent to the mouth end and detachably connected to the handles. The means of detachable connection is preferably a continuous line of weakening which may be a continuous line of perforations. A perforation preferably defines each corner of the retention portion nearest to the mouth end of the bag. The length of the detachable connection between the sides of the retention portion and the handles is preferably 0.1 to 0.24 times the length of the handles.

[0029] The apertures in the retention portions are preferably elongate and transverse to the longitudinal axis of the bags. The distance from the apertures in the retention portions to the transverse bend in the stack of bags may be 0.1 to 0.4 or more preferably 0.2 to 0.3 times the distance from the transverse bend to the base end of the stack of bags.

[0030] The retention portions are preferably secured together by hot pin welds.

[0031] A second aspect of the present invention provides a dispenser for dispensing an article from a preformed flattened stack of such articles, the dispenser comprising a base, a substantially upright wall having first and second parts, and a retention member on the second part of the upright wall to retain the article on the dispenser prior to being dispensed, wherein, when in use, the articles are disposed over the upright wall such that one portion of the article stack is disposed on and supported by the first part of the wall and a second portion of the article stack is disposed on and supported by the second part of the wall.

[0032] The article may be a bag, a flexible sheet, a glove or any other similar item.

[0033] Preferably, the wall has an arcuate surface between the first and second parts of the wall which is preferably located at the uppermost point of the wall.

[0034] A portion of at least one part of the wall is preferably inclined relative to the base. The inclined portion may be an upper portion of the second part of the wall and may be inclined by 20 to 90 relative to the base. The retention member may be located on the inclined upper portion of the second part of the wall.

[0035] The retention member preferably has a hooked configuration. The retention member may have a first portion that is attached to the upright wall and extends substantially perpendicular thereto and a second portion that is inclined to the first portion, although other configurations may be employed.

[0036] The dispenser preferably has a trough for receipt of the base end of the bags when located on the dispenser.

[0037] In a preferred embodiment the dispenser comprises a member extending upwardly from the base which in combination with the wall defines the trough. The height of the upwardly extending member may be 0.5 to 0.9 or more preferably 0.6 to 0.8 times the height of the wall. The upwardly extending member may have a lip which projects away from the wall and the uppermost edge of the upwardly extending member may be arcuate. The dispenser preferably comprises a continuous sinuous member that forms the first and second parts of the wall, the trough and the upwardly extending member.

[0038] The trough may be flanked by a pair of side walls which are connected to the upwardly extending member and the wall.

[0039] In an alternative embodiment the trough may be defined within the base of the dispenser.

[0040] The upright wall may be flanked by a pair of side members between which, when in use, the articles are disposed. The side members may be shaped such that, when in use, access to the side of the articles is restricted so that a user is guided away from less efficient methods of dispensing an article from the stack.

[0041] A third aspect of the invention provides a stack of preformed flattened bags suitable for being dispensed from a dispenser, each bag comprising a main body with front and rear walls, a closed base end, an opposite mouth end, a retention portion having an aperture which, when in use, is suitable for receipt of a retention member on the dispenser, and handles adjacent to the mouth end and retention portion, wherein the retention portion is detachably connected to the main body adjacent to the mouth and detachably connected to a portion of each handle nearest to the mouth at a continuous line of weakening.

[0042] Providing a continuous line of weakening in this way ensures that the means of detachable connection is adequately resilient to withstand transportation and loading of the stack of bags on to the dispenser but sufficiently frangible to ensure efficient dispensing of a single bag from the stack.

[0043] The detachable connection may be a continuous line of perforations. A perforation preferably defines each comer of the retention portion nearest to the mouth end of the bag. The length of the detachable connection between the sides of the retention portion and the handles is preferably 0.1 to 0.24 times the length of the handles.

[0044] The retention portion of the bag is preferably integral with the main body and the handles and may be defined by a substantially U-shaped weakening line.

[0045] The apertures in the retention portions are preferably elongate and transverse to the longitudinal axis of the bags. The distance from the apertures in the retention portions to the transverse bend in the stack of bags may be 0.1 to 0.4 or more preferably 0.2 to 0.3 times the distance from the transverse bend to the base end of the stack of bags.

[0046] The retention portions are preferably secured together by hot pin welds.

[0047] Specific embodiments of the present invention will now be described by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0048]FIG. 1 is a side view of a first embodiment of a stack of pre-formed bags forming part of the present invention;

[0049]FIG. 2 is a front view of the bags of FIG. 1;

[0050]FIG. 3 is a side view of a first embodiment of a dispenser forming part of the present invention;

[0051]FIG. 4 is a front view of the dispenser of FIG. 3;

[0052]FIG. 5 is side view of the dispenser of FIGS. 3 and 4 shown loaded with the stack of pre-formed bags of FIGS. 1 and 2;

[0053]FIG. 6 is a rear view of the dispenser and bags of FIG. 5;

[0054]FIG. 7 is a front view of the dispenser and bags of FIG. 5;

[0055]FIG. 8 is a front view of the mouth and retention portions of a second embodiment of a bag forming part of the present invention;

[0056]FIG. 9 is a side view of a second embodiment of a dispenser forming part of the present invention;

[0057]FIG. 10 is a front view of the dispenser of FIG. 9;

[0058]FIG. 11 is a rear view of the dispenser of FIG. 9;

[0059]FIG. 12 is a side view of a third embodiment of the dispenser of the present invention, shown with a stack of bags loaded thereon; and

[0060]FIG. 13 is a side view of a fourth embodiment of the dispenser of the present invention shown with a stack of bags loaded thereon.

[0061] Referring now to FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings, a stack of flat pre-formed bags 1 is shown folded transversely in the configuration it is to be supported on a dispenser as described below.

[0062] Each bag comprises a tube of plastics film that is flattened to form front and rear walls and is heat welded to form a transverse seal at each end in accordance with known techniques. An elongate rectangular aperture 2 is cut from one end of the bag to define handle portions 3 and a mouth 4. In-board of the mouth 4 and the handles 3 a U-shaped perforated cut or line of weakening 5 defines a removable retention tab 6 that becomes separated from the main body of the bag when it is dispensed as will be described below. The retention tab 6 shape is designed such that when it is removed from the main body of the bag the length of the handles 3 is effectively doubled. Each retention tab 6 has an elongate aperture 7 for engagement with the dispenser.

[0063] A plurality of such bags is provided in the stack 1, the bags being arranged such that they overlie each other in alignment. The bags are folded about a transverse line 8 that is intermediate the mouth and bottom ends of the bags and is above the mid-height of the bags such that a top end 1 a of the stack is vertically offset from a bottom end 1 b.

[0064] Referring now to FIGS. 3 and 4, the exemplary dispenser 10 has a base 11 on which is disposed a vertically extending central wall 12 flanked by two side walls 13. In use the central wall 12 supports the stack of bags 1 and in order to prevent damage to the bags it has an arcuate upper edge 14. The side walls 13 are of inverted U-shape and fit over the central wall 12 at each side such that edges 15 project beyond the central wall 12.

[0065] A rear face of the central wall 12 a has a hooked projecting tongue 16. A first portion 17 of the tongue 16 projects perpendicularly from the plane of the central wall 12 and a main portion 18 projects vertically downwards towards the base 11. The tongue 16 is located approximately mid-way between the side walls 13 and serves as a retaining and locating member for the bag stack 1 as will be described below.

[0066] The base 11 of the dispenser has a trough 19 in front of the central wall 12, the purpose of which will become apparent later.

[0067] Referring now to FIGS. 5 to 7, the stack of bags 1 is presented to the dispenser 10 such that the fold 8 is placed directly on the upper edge 14 of the central wall 12 with the bottom end 1 b of the bags facing the front of the dispenser. The aligned apertures 7 of the bag stack 1 are hooked over the locating tongue 16 which serves to retain the bags in place on the dispenser 10. The stack of bags 1 is disposed such that an upper portion 20 above the fold line 8 depends down the rear face 12 a of the central wall 12 and a lower portion 21 below the fold 8 depends down the front face 12 b. The central wall 12 effectively separates the upper portion 20 of the stack 1 from the lower portion 21. As the bags are folded about a line offset from the mid-height line the weight of the stack is unevenly distributed between the front and rear of the dispenser. The greater weight of the stack is at the front and this tends to bias the tops 1 a of the bags upwards relative to the tongue 16 although significant movement in this direction is prevented by the engagement of the tongue 16 in the apertures 7 of the retention tabs 6. At the front of the dispenser 10 the bottom end 1 b of the stack of bags 1 is received in the trough 19 in the base 11.

[0068] In use, the dispenser 10, when loaded with a stack of bags 1, is located such that the user has access to the bags from the front. The side walls 13 and base 11 of the dispenser restrict access to the side and bottom edges of the bags thereby encouraging the user to select the uppermost bag in the stack 1 from the front near to the fold of the stack. The user grasps the front wall of the uppermost bag and pulls it towards him or her. Since the bag is retained on the dispenser by the hooked-shaped tongue 16 this action causes the bag to become progressively detached form the retention tab 6 along the line of weakening 5. The main body of the bag becomes detached at the lines of weakening on the front wall of the bag first before those on the rear wall. There is thus a tendency for the front and rear walls of the bag to separate so as to facilitate opening of the bag. After the bag has been removed the retention tab 6 is retained on the tongue 16.

[0069] The central vertical wall including the arcuate upper edge 14 is in contact with the lowermost bag in the stack 1 and thereby provides a firm supporting surface making it easier for the user to pinch and separate the uppermost bag in the stack

[0070] The arrangement provides for a compact dispenser that does not obstruct the line of sight of the customer or till operator but which ensures that the stack of bags is readily visible to aid the customer in dispensing a bag. Its visibility also makes it easy for an attendant to notice when the stack is depleted or that the dispenser 10 is empty so that it can be reloaded rapidly. Reloading of the bags is a simple operation in that there is no difficulty in determining the correct orientation for the bags. It is only necessary to locate the apertures 7 in the retention tabs 6 over the tongue 16 as the bag stack is placed on the central wall 12. The bag stack 1 can be placed either way up on the dispenser.

[0071] The design eliminates the requirement for separate packaging for the bags and the requirement for the bags to be retained together in the stack by glue spots or heat welds.

[0072] The apertures may be oversized as compared to the tongue so as to make it easier for the attendant to locate the stack of bags over the tongue.

[0073] FIGS. 8 to 11 show second embodiments of a bag and a dispenser in which parts corresponding to those shown in FIGS. 1 to 7 are indicated with the same reference numeral but increased by 100 and are not further described except insofar as they differ from their counterparts in FIGS. 1 to 7.

[0074] Referring now to FIG. 8, an alternative embodiment of a bag is shown in which the shape of the retention tab and the mouth of the bag is different to the first embodiment shown in FIG. 2. As before, each retention tab 106 has an elongate aperture 107 for engagement with the dispenser. The detachable connection between the retention tab 106 and the mouth end and handles 103 of the bag is formed by a continuous perforated seam 105. The two lower corners of the retention tab 106 nearest the mouth end of the bag are formed by a pair of single arcuate perforations 150. The end portions 151, 152 of the upper and lower edges 153, 154 of the retention tab are curved downwardly towards the mouth portion of the bag.

[0075] In this embodiment, the length x of the sides 155 of the retention tab 106 which are detachably connected to the handles 103 represents approximately one fifth of the total length y of the handles 103. The retention tabs are secured to one another by hot pin welds 156.

[0076] Referring now to FIGS. 9, 10 and 11 an alternative embodiment of a dispenser 110 comprises a continuous sinuous wall which has two floor or ground contacting portions 157, 158 that form the base of the dispenser, the upstanding central wall section 112 and a front upwardly extending member 159.

[0077] The wall 112 has an upper arcuate edge 114 over which a stack of bags is placed when loaded on to the dispenser. When a stack of bags is loaded, the transverse line about which the bags are folded (not shown in FIGS. 8 to 11 but denoted 8 in FIGS. 1 to 7) is coincident with the upper arcuate edge 114. The base and mouth ends of the bags are vertically offset as before. The distance from the apertures in the retention tabs to the transverse line is less that one third of the distance from the transverse line to the base end of the stack of bags. Thus, as in the previous embodiment, the weight of the bags at the front of the dispenser biases the stack of bags such that the portions at the rear are urged upwards relative to the tongue 116. This increases the ease with which a bag is dispensed.

[0078] In this embodiment, the rear face 112 a of the wall 112 has an outwardly projecting upper section with inclined upper and lower surfaces 160, 161. A hooked projecting tongue 116 for retaining a stack of bags is located on the upper surface 160 of the rear face 112 a of the wall 112. The tongue 116 has a first portion 117 which projects perpendicularly from the upper surface 160 and a second portion 118 which extends horizontally from the first portion.

[0079] The dispenser 110 has an upwardly extending member 159 formed integrally with the wall 112. The member 159 is located in front of the front face 112 b of the wall 112 and has an arcuate lip 162 connected to its uppermost edge. The lip 162 is inclined outwardly relative to the central wall 112 to facilitate loading of bags on to the dispenser 110. The member 159, central wall 112 and side walls 113 combine to define a trough 163 for receipt of the base end of a stack of bags when loaded on to the dispenser 110.

[0080] The method of loading stacks of bags on to this embodiment of the dispenser 110 is the same as that for the first embodiment 10. The apertures 107 in the retention tabs 106 are first hooked over the tongue 116. The main body of the stack of bags is then placed over the wall 112 of the dispenser 110 such that the transverse line is coincident with the upper arcuate edge 114. Finally, the base end of the stack of bags is placed into the trough 163. The outwardly inclined lip 162 aids in locating the base end of the stack of bags into the trough 163 by guiding the stack inwards when incident upon the lip 162. Once loaded on to the dispenser, the stack of bags adopts a similar arcuate profile near the transverse line as the upper edge 114 of the wall 112.

[0081] The following features of this embodiment of the dispenser 110 are designed to guide the user in dispensing a single bag from the stack of bags in the most efficient way possible.

[0082] The front member 159 is disposed so as to restrict access to the front of the stack of bags to just a small section close to the transverse line in the stack but ensure that this section is large enough for engagement by the hand of the user. In the exemplary embodiment shown it is approximately three-quarters of the height of the wall 112, but it may take any other convenient value.

[0083] The side walls 113 are designed to direct the user to approach the stack of bags from the front of the dispenser 110 midway between the side walls 113.

[0084] When a user wishes to dispense a bag he/she is presented with a conveniently arched surface at the uppermost point of the stack of bags by virtue of the stack resting on the arcuate upper edge 114 of the wall 112. The shape of the arcuate upper edge 114 may take any convenient form, however the shape of the embodiment shown in FIG. 9 has been ergonomically designed to match a person's hand H (see FIG. 9) with thumb and fingers extended. In this way, the user is presented with a naturally arched surface over which he/she can place his/her hand in order to grasp a bag.

[0085] The inclined upper surface 160 on the rear face 112 a of the wall 112 provides a convenient surface against which a user can engage a portion of the uppermost bag of the stack rearwards of the transverse line and draw it over the upper arcuate edge 114 of the wall 112 with his/her fingers.

[0086] In order to dispense a bag from the stack the user simply places his/her hand over the arched upper surface of the stack, bears down on to the stack and draws his/her hand over the arcuate surface and towards the front of the dispenser 110. Owing to the friction between the user's hand and the uppermost bag, first the upper wall of the uppermost bag is dragged relative to the stack. The lower wall then follows. In this way the perforations on the upper wall of the bag break before those on the lower wall and the bag partially opens whilst being dispensed.

[0087] It is to be understood that although the central walls 12, 112 of the embodiments described are shown as vertical or partially vertical, they may be of any suitable upright form. For example, both portions to each side of the arcuate surface 114 may be inclined to the vertical. In each case the portion of the bags at the arcuate surface is presented to the user in a conveniently arched form for engagement by a user.

[0088] The alternative dispensers of FIGS. 12 and 13 are designed to be of reduced height by altering the position of the stack of bags or, alternatively, can be used to accommodate larger bag sizes. In the embodiment of FIG. 12 the dispenser is shown with a stack of bags S loaded thereon (depicted by the elongate dotted line). The base of the base wall of the trough 163 has an aperture 200 that in use in placed over an aperture 201 in a supporting surface 202 (e.g. a retail counter). When the stack of bags are loaded the bags ends 203 pass through the apertures 200, 201 in the trough and the counter. This arrangement allows the height of the bags and therefore the height of the dispenser above the supporting surface to be reduced.

[0089] In the dispenser embodiment of FIG. 13, the stack of bags S is again shown in elongate dotted line. The lower part of the dispenser has been modified to allow the bag ends to be folded so as to reduce the overall height of the dispenser. The ground contacting portion is a single portion 300 and the wall 112 has an aperture 301 through which the bags are designed to pass. This allows the bags to form a fold 302 so as to occupy more of the dispenser length. The height of the stack of bags, and therefore the height of the dispenser above the supporting surface is thus reduced.

[0090] It is to be appreciated that numerous modifications may be made to the above described design without departing from the scope of the present invention as defined in the appended claims. For example, both front and rear faces of the dispenser may have portions that are inclined relative to the base and the degree of inclination may take any convenient value. The relative dimensions of the wall and upwardly extending member can be selected to suit a particular application. The bags may be detachable from the retention portions by means of any appropriate configuration of line of weakening or perforations or the like. Furthermore, the shape of the tongue and the corresponding shape of the aperture in the retention tab of the bags may have any convenient profile. It is also to be understood that the same dispenser can be used for any suitable kind of article, for example, bags without handles, sheets or gloves provided an appropriate retention tab is present on the article.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7624881 *Jan 20, 2004Dec 1, 2009Hilex Poly Co., LlcDispensing apparatus for plastic bags
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/26
International ClassificationA47F9/04
Cooperative ClassificationA47F9/042
European ClassificationA47F9/04B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 28, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: HYPERAMA PLC, UNITED KINGDOM
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BOLTON, SIMON M.;REEL/FRAME:014322/0985
Effective date: 20030628
Owner name: SIMON BOLTON LTD., UNITED KINGDOM
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BOLTON, SIMON M.;REEL/FRAME:014322/0985
Effective date: 20030628