US 20050051461 A1
Disclosed is a re-closable carton for holding and transporting prepared foods that is assembled from a planer, unitary, blank. The blank may be formed from paperboard, plastic resin, foam materials, or other suitable materials. To assemble the carton, the blank can be folded about preformed fold lines. The assembled carton has an enclosed volume defined by a bottom panel, a plurality of extending side panels and a hingedly connected cover that can be moved adjacent to the top edges of the side panels. The cover may include a window for viewing the enclosed volume. To seal the carton against leakage, gussets are provided at the corners and flanges extend between the cover and the side panels. To prevent the carton from unfolding, tabs extending from the gussets may be attached to the flanges.
1. A blank for producing an enclosable carton, the blank comprising:
a centrally located bottom panel;
an outward extending first side panel and a opposing outward extending third side panel each attached to the bottom panel along a respective first and second fold line;
an outward extending second side panel and a opposing outward extending fourth side panel each attached to the bottom panel along a respective second and fourth fold line;
a first flange extending outwardly from the first side panel and attached to the first side panel along a first flange fold line;
a second flange extending outwardly from the second side panel and attached to the second side panel along a second flange fold line;
a third flange extending outwardly from the third side panel and attached to the third side panel along a third flange fold line;
a first gusset extending between the first side panel and the second side panel;
a second gusset extending between the second side panel and the third side panel;
a third gusset extending between the third side panel and the fourth side panel;
a fourth gusset extending between the fourth side panel and the first side panel;
a tab extending outwardly from each gusset, the tabs being coextensive with the flanges;
a cover extending outwardly from the fourth side panel.
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6. A carton produced from a carton blank, the carton comprising:
a bottom panel;
a first pair of opposing side panels extending upwardly from the bottom panel and a second pair of opposing side panels extending upwardly from the bottom panel, the first pair of side panels arranged substantially normal to the second pair of side panels to define corners of the carton;
a cover hingedly connected to one side panel of the first pair and extending toward the remaining side panel of the first pair, the cover substantially parallel with the bottom panel;
a flange extending from each side panel of the second pair underneath the cover;
a gusset extending between each side panel of the first pair and each side panel of the second pair; each gusset including a tab, each gusset folded adjacent to one of the side panels of second pair, the tab of each gusset adjacent and attached to one of the flanges of the side panels of the second pair.
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14. A carton comprising:
a bottom panel;
a plurality of upright side panels extending from the bottom panel;
a flange extending from a side panel generally parallel with the bottom panel;
a gusset extending between two side panels;
a tab extending from the gusset, the tab attached to the flange.
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The present invention is related in general to cartons for holding and transporting food and, more particularly, to cartons that are folded together from pre-cut, planer blanks.
Foldable containers are commonly used in the food and beverage industry to store and transport prepared foods. Such cartons are typically distributed as planer cutouts, or blanks, that can be folded together at the site of the food preparation to define an enclosed volume for holding the prepared food. The blanks may be formed from paper board, plastic resin materials, or foam materials such as styrofoam. Among the advantages offered by using such materials are their low cost, their thermal insulation properties, and/or their beneficial environmental attributes. Among the advantages of designing the carton to be assembled from a foldable blank is that the blanks are simple to manufacture and can be easily distributed and stored in a stacked relationship.
Desirably, the folding sequence necessary to assemble the carton from the blank should be quick and simple to perform. Additionally, the blank should be provided as a unitary piece that does not require additional parts to produce the assembled carton. The carton should be assembled in a manner that prevents the carton from unintentionally unfolding. Also desirably, to prevent thermal and food leakage, the assembled carton should be substantially sealed. Furthermore, to allow for multiple uses, the carton should be configured to be re-closable.
The present invention provides a carton that is folded together from a planer blank. To define an enclosed volume when assembled, the carton includes a base panel and four generally upright, opposing side panels that intersect one another and extend from the base panel. To enclose the volume, a cover hingedly extends from one side panel and can be folded adjacent to the upper edges of the remaining three side panels. For sealing the closure gap between the three side panels and the cover, each of the side panels has extending inwardly from its upper edge a flange that is located partially underneath the cover. To provide sealing between the side panels, a gusset that acts as a retention web is located at each corner formed by the intersection of two adjacent, upright side panels.
To hold the carton together once it is assembled, each gusset has extending from its upper edge a tab. When the side panels are in their upright position, the gussets can be folded adjacent to each side panel and each tab can be folded adjacent to one of the flanges and adhesively attached thereto. In an embodiment of the invention, adhesive spots can be pre-placed on the portions of the blank that form the tabs. Alternatively, the tab may be inserted in a slot formed between the side panels and the flanges. To facilitate the re-closable feature of the carton, the cover can include a closure tab that is releasably received in a slot formed between one of the flanges and that flange's respective side panel. In an embodiment of the present invention, to view the enclosed volume when the cover is folded adjacent to the flanges and side panels, a plastic window can be disposed to permit viewing through the cover proximate to the enclosed volume.
The carton can be folded together from a pre-cut, unitary blank in which fold lines are formed that distinguish the various parts of the assembled carton, all of which are included as part of the blank. The fold lines function to guide and facilitate assembly of the carton in a quick and simple manner. Because the unitary blank has a generally planer dimension, numerous blanks can be compactly stored in a stacked relationship at the site of the food preparation.
Now referring to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals refer to like elements, there is illustrated in
The carton 100 includes a rectangular base portion 110 and four generally upright, planer side panels extending from the edges of the base portion. The side panels are hereinafter referred to as the first side panel 112, the second side panel 114, the third side panel 116 and the fourth side panel 118. The first and third side panels 112, 116 are arranged to form a first opposing pair while the second and fourth side panels 114, 118 are similarly arranged to form a second opposing pair. The pairs intersect each other at their side edges to form a first corner 122, a second corner 124, a third corner 126, and a fourth corner 128. To produce the preferred trapezoidal shape of the carton 100, as illustrated in
As illustrated in
The base panel 110 is generally rectangular. Contiguous to and extending outward from the base panel 110 at a first side panel fold line 132 is the first side panel 112. Also extending outward from the base panel 110 in the opposite direction is the third panel 116, the base panel and the third side panel being contiguous along a third side panel fold line 136. Likewise, second and fourth side panels 114, 118 extend from the base panel 110 at second and fourth side panel fold lines 134, 138 respectively. To form the preferred trapezoidal carton, the panels have a trapezoidal shape with the narrow base of the trapezoid corresponding to the respective side panel fold lines.
Contiguous to and extending outward from the first side panel 112 along a first flange fold line 152 is a first flange 142. The outermost edge of the first flange 142 defines part of the outline of the blank 130. Contiguous to and extending outward from the second and third side panels 114, 116 along second and third flange fold lines 154, 156 are second and third flanges 144, 146, the outermost edges of which also define part of the outline of the blank. The flanges each have a generally rectangular shape with the outermost two corners being rounded.
Contiguous to and extending outward from the fourth side panel 118 along cover fold line 158 is the cover 120, the outer most edges of which further define the outline of the blank 130. The length that the cover 120 extends from the fourth side panel 118 is substantially larger than the length that any of the flanges 142, 144, 146 extend from their respective side panels 112, 114, 116. To form the window 121, the center of the cover 120 is cut out thereby forming a first edge 160, a second edge 162, a third edge 164, and a fourth edge 166 that define a frame. Cellophane or other appropriately clear or translucent material can be placed across the frame and glued or otherwise secured to the edges. Referring to
The first side panel 112 and the second side panel 114, which are generally perpendicular to each other, are joined together by a web of the blank material hereforth referred to as a gusset 170. The gusset is contiguous with the first side panel 112 along a first gusset fold line 172 and is likewise contiguous with the second side panel 114 along a second gusset fold line 174. The gusset fold lines 172, 174 define the side edges of the respective side panels 112, 114. The gusset fold lines 172, 174 intersect each other at the corner of the base panel 110 defined by the first and second side panel fold lines 132, 134. The gusset 170 is thus generally shaped as a triangle. Bisecting the triangular gusset is a bisection fold line 176 which defines a first gusset half 178 and a symmetrical second gusset half 180.
Notably, the gusset 170 and the first and second gusset fold lines 172, 174 extend only along the first and second side panels 112, 114 thereby defining the outermost edge 182 of the gusset which is co-extensive with the start of the first and second flanges 142, 144. Extending from the edge 182 of the gusset 170 between the bisection fold line 176 and the second gusset fold line 174 is a tab 184. The tab 184 may be of any suitable shape.
A second, third and fourth gussets 190, 200, 210 are similarly formed between the second and third side panels 114, 116, the third and fourth side panels 116, 118, and the fourth and first side panels 118, 112, respectively. Extending from each of the second, third and fourth gussets 190, 200, 210 are a second, third, and fourth tab 194, 204, 214, respectively.
To assemble the carton from the blank, the blank 130 is first laid flat as illustrated in
To prevent the carton from unfolding, adhesive can be applied to the tab 184 to securely hold the tab to the flange 142. When the tab is so attached to the flange, the gusset 170 is held adjacent the first side panel 112 thereby holding the first side panel in its upright position. The fourth tab 214 is also adhesively attached to the flange 142 while the second and third tabs 194, 204 are adhesively attached to the opposite flange 146. The adhesive can be applied when the carton is assembled or, in another embodiment, can be pre-placed on the blank. For instance, referring to
Alternatively, as illustrated in
Thus, the present invention provides a re-closable carton for holding and transporting food items. The carton can be assembled from pre-cut, foldable blanks of paperboard, resin, foam material, or other suitable material to define a volume enclosed by multiple carton panels. To prevent thermal and food leakage, the carton includes gussets and flanges that substantially seal the intersections of the various panels. To prevent the carton from unintentionally unfolding, the panels can be held in an upright position by the use of adhesive. The cover of the carton is hinged to a side panel and includes an insert that can be removably inserted into a slot for closing and reopening the carton. The cover can include a window for viewing the enclosed volume.
The use of the terms “a” and “an” and “the” and similar referents in the context of describing the invention (especially in the context of the following claims) are to be construed to cover both the singular and the plural, unless otherwise indicated herein or clearly contradicted by context. All methods described herein can be performed in any suitable order unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context. The use of any and all examples, or exemplary language (e.g., “such as”) provided herein, is intended merely to better illuminate the invention and does not pose a limitation on the scope of the invention unless otherwise claimed. No language in the specification should be construed as indicating any non-claimed element as essential to the practice of the invention.
Preferred embodiments of this invention are described herein, including the best mode known to the inventors for carrying out the invention. Of course, variations of those preferred embodiments will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon reading the foregoing description. The inventors expect skilled artisans to employ such variations as appropriate, and the inventors intend for the invention to be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Accordingly, this invention includes all modifications and equivalents of the subject matter recited in the claims appended hereto as permitted by applicable law. Moreover, any combination of the above-described elements in all possible variations thereof is encompassed by the invention unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context.