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Publication numberUS20050051459 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/438,428
Publication dateMar 10, 2005
Filing dateMay 15, 2003
Priority dateMay 15, 2003
Also published asWO2004103823A2, WO2004103823A3
Publication number10438428, 438428, US 2005/0051459 A1, US 2005/051459 A1, US 20050051459 A1, US 20050051459A1, US 2005051459 A1, US 2005051459A1, US-A1-20050051459, US-A1-2005051459, US2005/0051459A1, US2005/051459A1, US20050051459 A1, US20050051459A1, US2005051459 A1, US2005051459A1
InventorsJulio Casanova
Original AssigneeCasanova Julio Cesar
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Hangable package structure
US 20050051459 A1
Abstract
A hangable package structure for use with small, heavy products that are sold in blister card packages is disclosed. The package can be suspended from a peg or displayed on a shelf without using a tray or other holder. The package prevents the occurrence of a problem known as “hanger hole tear-through” of the blister card and provides for partial portability of the purchased product.
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Claims(23)
1. A peggable package structure having a partially enclosed interior region housing at least one compartment, said structure comprising:
a) a folded strip shaped base member having a planar surface, a first end that defines a first opening through said base member, a second end that defines a second opening through said base member and a midsection located between the first and second ends, wherein said first opening in said base member aligns with said second opening in said base member to provide an unobstructed path through a partially enclosed interior region defined on three sides by said first end, said second end and said midsection; and
b) a first compartment secured to the first end of said base member's planar surface and housed within the partially enclosed interior region.
2. The package structure of claim 1, further including an anti-bowing reinforcing member secured to said base member's planar surface.
3. The package structure of claim 2, wherein said reinforcing member is secured to the planar surface of said base member's first end.
4. The package structure of claim 3, wherein said base member comprises a longitudinal axis and said reinforcing member comprises an elongated rib oriented parallel to the longitudinal axis.
5. The package structure of claim 4, wherein said reinforcing member extends across the longitudinal midpoint of said first end.
6. The package structure of claim 1, further comprises a second compartment secured to said second end's planar surface.
7. The package structure of claim 6, further comprises a releasable interlocking means for preventing movement of said compartments within said partially enclosed region.
8. The package structure of claim 7, wherein said interlocking means comprises a protrusion on said first compartment and a recess on said second compartment, wherein said protrusion engages said recess, thereby releasably securing one compartment to the other compartment.
9. The package structure of claim 1, wherein said first end abuts said midsection at a first flexible connection and said second end abuts said midsection at a second flexible connection.
10. The package structure of claim 9, wherein said base member comprises a longitudinal axis and said flexible connections are perpendicular to the longitudinal axis.
11. The package structure of claim 9, wherein said first opening is proximate said first flexible connection and said second opening is proximate said second flexible connection.
12. The package structure of claim 1, said base member comprises a locking means in contact with said first end and said second end.
13. The package structure of claim 12, wherein said locking means defines a fourth side of said partially enclosed interior region.
14. A process for manufacturing a package structure, comprising the steps of:
a) providing a strip shaped base member having a planar surface, a first end that defines a first opening through said base member, a second end that defines a second opening through said base member and a midsection located between and separating the first end from the second end;
b) providing a first compartment having an opening;
c) securing the planar surface of said base member's first end over the opening in said compartment; and
d) folding said base member to align said first opening with said second opening to provide an unobstructed path through the partially enclosed interior region defined on three sides by said first end, said second end and said midsection, wherein said region houses said first compartment.
15. The process of claim 14, wherein said first end abuts said midsection at a first axis and said second end abuts said midsection at a second axis, said first axis and said second axis located parallel to each other.
16. The process of claim 14, wherein said base member comprises a longitudinal axis and said base member's two separate axes are perpendicular to the longitudinal axis and parallel to each other.
17. The process of claim 14, wherein step b further includes providing a second compartment having an opening and step c further includes securing the planar surface of said base member's second end over the opening in said second compartment.
18. The process of claim 17, wherein said first compartment comprises a protrusion and said second compartment comprises a recess, said process further includes the step of engaging said protrusion with said recess to removably secure the compartments to one another.
19. The process of claim 14, wherein said base member comprises a locking means in contact with an end of said base and said process further includes the step of engaging said locking means to releasably secure said first end to said second end.
20. The process of claim 19, wherein said locking means provides a fourth side to said partially enclosed region.
21. The process of claim 17, wherein said first compartment comprises a first protrusion and said second compartment comprises a second protrusion, said process further includes the step of engaging said first protrusion with said second protrusion to removably secure the compartments to one another.
22. A merchandiser, comprising: a hangable package structure and a support means from which the package structure is removably suspended, wherein said package structure comprises a folded, strip shaped base member having a planar surface, a first end that defines a first opening through said base member, a second end that defines a second opening through said base member, and a midsection located between and separating the first end from the second end, wherein the first opening in said base member aligns with said second opening in said base member to provide an unobstructed path through a partially enclosed interior region defined on three sides by said first end, said second end and said midsection, said package structure further comprises a first compartment secured to the planar surface of said base member's first end and located within said partially enclosed interior region; and said support means comprises an elongated member simultaneously extending through said package structure's first opening, unobstructed path and second opening, said support means contacting and supporting said first end and said second end thereby suspending said package from said support means.
23. The merchandiser of claim 22, wherein said support means comprises a first proximal end secured to a supporting structure and a second distal end that extends through the package structure.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention is directed to hangable packages typically employed in a self-serve retail environment where consumers can select individual packages from a shelf or rack. In particular, this invention is directed to packages that include a card which is hung from a peg that passes through an opening in the top of the card.

Package structures used to display articles for sale come in a wide array of designs. The ideal package is inexpensive to manufacture using well known manufacturing equipment and has several features that are important to the consumer and/or the retail store's personnel. For example, in order to maximize the merchant's flexibility for displaying a package at various locations throughout the store, the package should be both peggable as well as able to stand without needing a holder or tray. Peggable packages are packages that can be suspended from a generally horizontal rod that passes through an opening in the package. Another desirable feature is partial portability which means that a portion of the package's contents, including a portion of the packaging itself, can be removed from the initial package structure without destroying the integrity and usefulness of the initial package. Another desirable feature is that the consumer can easily and reliably verify the package's contents before making the purchase. A feature that is important to store owners is that the package enables a sufficiently high level of product density which means that the amount of wasted space within a single package or between packages on a display rack is minimized. To counteract the problem of some consumers stealing a portion of the product from a package and then returning the partially depleted package to the store shelf, the package should be sufficiently robust to minimize pilferage while also providing easy access to the product by consumers who legally purchase the package. Finally, the ideal package will provide adequate space on the package's exterior surface for advertising, logo placement, instructions regarding the product, etc.

One of the most popular package structures is generally referred to as a “blister card.” The basic components of the blister card are a rectangularly shaped card member having a thickness of approximately 6.6 mm and a thermally formed cup shaped container made of a transparent plastic material that surrounds the merchandise to be displayed and sold. The container is secured to the card member which is hung from a peg that is attached on one end to a vertical surface such as a display stand. The card is hung by inserting one end of the peg through an opening in the card that is located near an edge of the card. Conventional blister cards perform satisfactorily when the merchandise in the container is not too heavy. For example, products such as pencils or small quantities of paper clips are well suited for sale in blister cards.

Unfortunately, the use of a blister card package structure to display and sell heavy products can cause problems for the retail store owners, customers, and manufacturers of the goods for sale. Examples of heavy products that are conventionally sold in blister card package structures include cylindrically shaped standard alkaline batteries that are used by consumers to power digital cameras, flashlights, toys, etc. When several batteries, such as twelve or more AA size batteries or at least six C size or D size batteries, are housed in a single blister card package, the weight can exceed three hundred grams. When the merchandise to be sold is too heavy, some of the blister card packages suffer from a problem known as “hanger hold tear-through.” A blister card with a torn hanger hole is shown in FIG. 1. This problem occurs when section 21, located between the hanger hole opening 25 in the card member and the closest edge 27 of card member 23, tears away thereby allowing the card to fall from the peg. Because the card has been torn, store personnel cannot return the blister card to the peg so that the merchandise can be displayed and sold.

Another cause of the hanger hole tear-through problem is rough handling of the blister card package by consumers. When a blister card package is removed from a peg, the consumer may inadvertently pull down on the package causing the peg to tear the card above the hangar hole. If the consumer should then decide not to purchase that package, it cannot be rehung on the peg because the card was accidentally torn.

In addition to occurring within a retail store, the hanger hole tear through problem can occur during shipment of the blister carded product from the manufacturer of the merchandise to the store. This problem is particularly noticeable when a merchandiser containing blister cards is shipped preloaded. In this situation, a merchandiser containing pegs, on which blister card packages have been hung, is shipped from the manufacturer to the retailer. The retailer can then unpack and use the fully loaded merchandiser without needing to hang peggable packages on the pegs. During shipment, which typically takes place via truck, the packages may be frequently jostled or vibrated on the peg for hours or days. Because the card is suspended from the peg, the peg works to weaken the card so that the card tears between the hanger hold and the edge of the card thereby allowing the package to fall. Despite knowing that the merchandise contained within the package is not damaged, most customers elect not to purchase a package with a torn hanger hole. The torn packages are then returned to the manufacturer where the product must be repackaged before it can be sold. This step needlessly increases the manufacturer's cost.

Another problem with using blister card package structures is that the package cannot stand by itself in a vertical position. As shown in FIG. 2, this problem is caused by a lower edge 29 of the card member 23 projecting beyond the cavity 31 that contains the merchandise so that the package tilts when allowed to stand by itself on a horizontal surface. This problem is caused by the extension of the cavity's lower flange 33 that must be secured to the card member in order to seal the merchandise into the cavity. Manufacturers of the product contained in the blister card, as well as retail store personnel, would benefit from a package that is capable of hanging from a peg or standing in a vertical position without the support of a tray or other holder.

Previous attempts to solve the hanger hole tear-through problem have included the following concepts. First, as disclosed in U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2002/0170218A1, a piece of tape may be applied to the top of the card member between the hanger hole and the edge of the card. The tape reinforces the card above the hanger hole, thereby strengthening the card so that the tear-through problem is significantly reduced or eliminated. Second, as disclosed in U.S. Design Pat. No. 427,523, the top of the card may be folded over to create a double thickness of card between the hanger hole and the edge of the card. However, neither the application of tape to the card nor the folding over at the top of the card resolve both the hanger hold tear-through problem and enable the package to stand by itself on a horizontal surface.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention solves problems associated with the use of conventional blister card package structures that may be displayed by hanging the package or by standing it on a horizontal surface. The present invention is capable of holding small heavy items without the card tearing above the hanger hole and the same package may be used in a free standing vertical orientation.

The present invention is a hangable package structure having a partially enclosed interior region that houses at least one compartment. The structure includes a folded strip shaped base member having a planar surface, a first end that defines a first opening through the base member, and a second end that defines a second opening through the base member. The base member's midsection is located between and separates the first end from the second end. The first opening in the base member aligns with the second opening in the base member to provide an unobstructed path through a partially enclosed interior region which is defined on three sides by the first end, the second end, and the midsection. A first compartment is secured to the planar surface of the base member's first end and is located within the partially enclosed interior region.

In another embodiment, the present invention is a process for manufacturing a package structure. The process includes the following steps. Providing a strip shaped base member having a planar surface, a first end that defines a first opening through the base member, a second end that defines a second opening through the base member, and a midsection that is located between and separates the first end from the second end. The first end abuts the midsection at a first axis and the second end abuts the midsection at a second axis. Providing a first compartment having an opening. Securing the planar surface of the base member's first end over the opening in the compartment. Folding the base member to align the first opening with the second opening to provide an unobstructed path through the partially enclosed interior region which is defined on three sides by the first end, the second end, and the midsection. The compartment is housed within the partially enclosed region.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a conventional peggable package with a torn hanger hole;

FIG. 2 is a side view of a conventional peggable package resting on a horizontal surface;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a base member that is useful in a package structure of this invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a first compartment suitable for use in a package structure of this invention;

FIG. 5 is a side view of the first compartment shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a second compartment suitable for use in a package structure of this invention;

FIG. 7 is a side view of the second compartment shown in FIG. 6;

FIG. 8A is a side view of the first compartment shown in FIG. 5 with items loaded into the compartment's cavity;

FIG. 8B is a side view of the second compartment shown in FIG. 7 with articles being loaded into the compartment's cavities;

FIG. 9 shows the base member being sealed over the openings in the cavities of the first and second compartments;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a partially folded package structure of this invention;

FIG. 11 is a side view of a completely folded package structure of this invention;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a package structure of this invention hung on a peg;

FIG. 13 is a cross sectional view of a folded package structure of this invention; and

FIG. 14 is a side view of a folded package structure of this invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings and more particularly to FIG. 3, there is shown a base member 20. The base member has a first end 22, a second end 24, and a midsection 26. The first end defines first opening 28 through base member 20. The second end defines second opening 30 through base member 20. First opening 28 and second opening 30 are sometimes referred to as hanger holes. First end 22 abuts midsection 26 at first axis 32. Second end 24 abuts midsection 26 at second axis 34. First axis 32 and second axis 34 are parallel to one another and function as flexible connections. One or both of the axes may be perforated to facilitate separating the base member into two or more sections by tearing the base member at the perforations. Base member 20 is a rectangularly shaped strip of paperboard material. The base member includes a planar surface 36.

Indicia, such as logos and advertising, may be printed on the side of the base member opposite the planar surface. Abutting one edge of first end 22 is an optional first locking tab 38. Abutting one edge of second end 24 is an optional second locking tab 40. Base member 20 has a longitudinal axis 42.

FIG. 4 shows one embodiment of first compartment 50, which includes a first cavity 52 and two anti-bowing ribs 54 and 56. Formed along two sides of first cavity 52 are protrusions 58 and 60. Flange area 62 encircles the perimeter of first compartment 50. FIG. 5 is a side view of first compartment 50.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a second compartment 70 having a first cavity 72 and a second cavity 74. Second compartment 70 includes anti-bowing ribs 76 and 78. Locking protrusions 80 and 82 are located on cavities 72 and 74, respectively. Flange area 84 defines the perimeter of second compartment 70. FIG. 7 is a side view of second compartment 70.

As shown in FIGS. 4 and 6, first compartment 50 and second compartment 70 may be formed as separate components which are individually attached to the base member. However, if desired, both compartments could be formed from a single strip of material so that a portion of the material bridges the midsection of the base member. If both compartments are formed from a single strip, then openings must be created in the strip to align with openings 28 and 30 in base member 20.

FIG. 8A is a side view of first compartment 50 with four articles 90 stored in first cavity 52. FIG. 8B is a side view of a second compartment 70 with a plurality of articles 90 loaded into first cavity 72. Four additional articles are flowing into cavity 74.

FIG. 9 shows base member 20 as it is secured over the cavities in first compartment 50 and second compartment 70. The distance between the first compartment and the second compartment is approximately equal to the width of the base member's midsection 26. The base member may be sealed to the compartments using conventional technologies such as an adhesive, tape, the application of heat, or various welding techniques such as the use of ultrasonic energy.

FIG. 10 shows a partially folded package, wherein second end 24 has been rotated about axis 34. To completely fold the package as shown in FIG. 11, first end 22 (in FIG. 10) is rotated about axis 32 so that ends 22 and 24 are parallel with one another. The folding process causes cavity 52 to be inserted between cavities 72 and 74. Protrusions 58 and 60 on cavity 52 are forced past protrusions 80 and 82 on cavities 72 and 74. The protrusions prevent the cavities from freely disengaging from one another, thereby requiring the consumer to exert some force on the free ends of the compartments in order to force them apart so that the articles stored therein can be accessed.

In addition to the protrusions previously described, other designs can be used to create a means for securing the cavities, and thus the compartments and ends of the base, into a single unitary package. In an alternate embodiment, protrusions 58 and 60 on cavity 52 could be made to engage recesses (not shown) instead of protrusions in cavities 72 and 74. Alternatively, one or more protrusions on the base of a cavity could be made to engage a recess in the surface of the opposing compartment. Yet another alternative is to use protrusions and recesses on the ribs and the cavities to create a means for interlocking the cavities formed in one compartment to the ribs formed in the opposing compartment.

The present invention may also comprise a base member having more than two ends. For example, a base member in the shape of a cross, rather than a strip, would have four ends that could be folded upon one another to create a rectangularly shaped package.

Anti-bowing ribs 54, 56, 76 and 78, shown in FIG. 10, are designed to prevent outward bowing of the package's sides when folded packages, such as the one shown in FIG. 11, are stacked on top of each other in a vertical orientation. For example, during shipment of the folded packages from the manufacturer to the retailer, the packages may be stacked on top of each other in a master shipping container. If the packages are stacked so that midsection 26 of the package at the bottom of the container abuts locking tab 40 of an adjoining package, then the package at the bottom of the stack must be able to support the weight of two packages without bowing and suffering a structural failure. The anti-bowing ribs are intended to provide sufficient structural support to prevent bowing of the package that would occur if the anti-bowing ribs were not present. To be most effective, the anti-bowing ribs must cross the longitudinal midpoints of the first end 22 and second end 24 of base member 20. The ribs may be formed as an integral part of first compartment 50 or second compartment 70. Alternatively, the ribs could be formed as separate elongated components that are then secured to a compartment.

The distance between two ribs, such as ribs 76 and 78 in FIG. 6, should be equal to or slightly greater than the width of base 53 of cavity 52. Similarly, the distance between ribs 54 and 56 in FIG. 4 should be equal to or slightly greater than the width of base 73 of cavity 72 and the width of base 75 or cavity 74. Preferably, the distance between two ribs formed on the same compartment creates a slight interference fit with the base of the opposing compartment's cavity thereby enabling the ribs to prevent undesirable side-to-side movement of the cavities when the package is folded as in FIG. 11.

As shown in FIG. 11, the base member's locking tabs 38 and 40 can be secured to one another to create a fourth side which functions as an optional means for locking the folded base strip and compartments into a unitary package. In one embodiment, the tabs may be glued to one another. In another embodiment, the tabs may be configured so that a portion of tab 38 fits through a slot in tab 40 thereby enabling the first and second ends of the base member to be releasably secured to one another.

Shown in FIG. 12 is a merchandiser having a folded package structure hung from a support means. The folded package structure is hung from an elongated horizontal support member 101, such as a peg, that is secured on its proximate end 106 to a vertical surface 108 such as a wall. The distal end 110 of support member 101 is inserted through the first opening 28 in first end 22, the unobstructed path 102 in the partially enclosed region 104 and then through the second opening 30 in second end 24. The package structure 100 shown in FIG. 12 is a preferred embodiment of the claimed invention. Package 100 can be used to display small heavy objects, such as twelve AA size alkaline batteries, by hanging the package from a peg or by placing the package on a horizontal surface in an upright position. Base member 20 includes four panels, previously identified as first end 22, midsection 26, second end 24, and locking tabs 38 and 40, that cooperate to define a partially enclosed region 104 that houses and protects the merchandise contained in cavities 52, 72 and 74. Because the package is not enclosed on two sides, a consumer can visually inspect the merchandise before purchasing the package. However, the four panels that define the exterior surface of the package provide a substantial barrier to pilferage of some or all of the merchandise when the package is on display in the store. Midsection 26 of base member 20 reinforces the area above hanger hole openings 28 and 30 thereby preventing hanger hole tear through. As described earlier, the base member's axes may be perforated between cavities 52, 72 and 74, thereby allowing individual cavities to be removed from the package without destroying the remaining portion of the package and the unused batteries are kept within the original package until they are needed. Alternatively, perforations 92, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 6, may be positioned around each cavity to facilitate removal of the cavity from the compartment after the package has been purchased and unfolded by the consumer. Perforations 92 need to extend through both base member 20 and the compartment in which the cavity is formed. Protrusions 58 and 60 on cavities 52, 72 and 74 provide a means for releasably securing the cavities to one another thereby enabling the package to resist racking during shipment and/or storage by the consumer.

A cross sectional view of another embodiment of a package of this invention is shown in FIG. 13 wherein a single compartment 94 is secured to base member 20. A side view of yet another embodiment of a package of this invention is shown in FIG. 14 wherein a single strip 86 of material is used to form both compartments, 96 and 98, as well as a middle portion 88 that abuts midsection 26 of strip 20.

The above description is considered that of the preferred embodiments only. Modifications of the invention will occur to those skilled in the art and to those who make or use the invention. Therefore, it is understood that the embodiments shown in the drawings and described above are merely for illustrative purposes and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention which is defined by the following claims as interpreted according to the principles of patent law.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7748534May 11, 2006Jul 6, 2010Novartis AgPackage for goods
US8631943 *May 2, 2013Jan 21, 2014Braun GmbhPackaging component
US20130087479 *Oct 5, 2011Apr 11, 2013Colgate-Palmolive CompanyPackaged oral care implement and package
DE102005033875A1 *Jul 20, 2005Feb 1, 2007Mapa Gmbh Gummi- Und PlastikwerkeVerpackung für Kondome
DE102012008984A1 *May 4, 2012Nov 7, 2013Andreas DittrichPackage e.g. bag package, for packing e.g. strewable tobacco for cigarette, has fold lines formed in carrier, and shell portions arranged on sides of lines, where distances between portions and lines are different from each other
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/703, 206/471, 206/467
International ClassificationB65D75/56, B65D75/36
Cooperative ClassificationB65D2575/565, B65D75/367, B65D2575/366, B65D75/366, B65D75/566, B65D2585/88
European ClassificationB65D75/36F, B65D75/36H, B65D75/56C
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 15, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: EVEREADY BATTERY COMPANY INC., MISSOURI
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CASANOVA, JULIO CESAR;REEL/FRAME:014080/0370
Effective date: 20030515