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Publication numberUS20050053315 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/655,976
Publication dateMar 10, 2005
Filing dateSep 5, 2003
Priority dateSep 5, 2003
Also published asCA2537822A1, EP1673285A1, WO2005026002A1
Publication number10655976, 655976, US 2005/0053315 A1, US 2005/053315 A1, US 20050053315 A1, US 20050053315A1, US 2005053315 A1, US 2005053315A1, US-A1-20050053315, US-A1-2005053315, US2005/0053315A1, US2005/053315A1, US20050053315 A1, US20050053315A1, US2005053315 A1, US2005053315A1
InventorsEric Aasen
Original AssigneeAasen Eric J.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Structured reclosable packaging
US 20050053315 A1
Abstract
Disclosed herein is flexible packaging with a relative rigid structure portion, and an efficient method for manufacturing the same, that provides flexible packaging with an interior support that is able to contain products such as snacks, confections, pet foods, and liquids. The present invention provides for shearing and reinforcing portions of a primary web to form a bag. A supportive structure is also sheared and configured into a predetermined shape. The supportive structure is affixed inside the lower portion of the bag and provides form and support to the bag. The bag may also have a reclosable top portion that encloses the contents of the packaging.
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Claims(25)
1. A reclosable bag comprising:
a pair of gusseted sides disposed between a front wall and a rear wall, wherein the gussets are located on a lower portion of the sides;
a supportive structure having a predetermined shape located on an interior lower portion of the reclosable bag, the supportive structure providing reinforcement to the bag material such that a portion of each wall and side engages the supportive structure and conforms to the orientation of the supportive structure, wherein a flat bottom is created on the bag, the bottom defining a base for the bag to maintain a stand-up orientation;
a reclosable device located proximate a bag opening, such that no gussets are required on an upper portion of the bag; and
wherein the bag is configured so as to rigidly hold items within the bag while maintaining its predetermined shape.
2. The reclosable bag of claim 1, further comprising:
front and rear walls having opposite longitudinal edges joined together by an elongate seal made at a contiguous portion thereof; and
wherein the bag is formed on a vertical form filling system.
3. The reclosable bag of claim 1, wherein a second supportive structure is attached proximate an upper portion of the bag, such that the second supportive structure provides a predetermined shape to the upper portion of the bag.
4. The reclosable bag of claim 2, wherein the second supportive structure is attached adjacent the reclosable device, such that the second support structure provides reinforcement to walls and sides of the bag to prevent undesired tearing and damage.
5. The reclosable bag of claim 4, wherein the reclosable device is an easy-snap mechanism.
6. The reclosable bag of claim 2, wherein the bag is made of a multi-layered film of thermoplastic material.
7. A reclosable flexible plastic package for holding items, the package comprising:
an opposed front wall and rear wall, opposed side walls, each wall having an upper and lower edge and longitudinal edges, such that the walls define an interior volume for item storage and an opening at upper edges thereof;
a reinforcing member sealed to an upper portion of the bag, such that the reinforcing member provides rigidity to said flexible package and a predetermined shape to the upper portion of the bag; and
a reclosable device located proximate the bag opening to permit selective opening and closing of the bag.
8. The reclosable flexible package of claim 7, further comprising a supportive structure located on an interior lower portion of the package, the supportive structure providing reinforcement to the flexible package such that a portion the walls envelope the supportive structure and conform to the shape of the supportive structure.
9. The reclosable flexible package of claim 8, wherein the reclosable device is an easy-snap mechanism.
10. A flexible bag for storing items, the bag comprising:
(a) an opposed front wall and rear wall, each wall having an upper and lower edge and longitudinal edges, such that the walls define a bag opening at upper edges thereof;
(b) a supportive structure located on an interior portion of the bag, the supportive structure providing reinforcement to the bag material such that at least one wall of the bag contacts the supportive structure and conforms to the orientation of the supportive structure;
(c) the front and rear walls, the sides, supportive structure and bag bottom define an interior volume of the bag for holding items; and
(d) a reclosable device located proximate the bag opening, such that no gussets are required on the upper portion of the bag, wherein the bag opening may be selectively opened and closed.
11. The flexible bag of claim 10, wherein said front, rear and side walls and bag bottom are composed of a multi-layered film of thermoplastic material.
12. The flexible bag of claim 10, wherein said bag has portions of the front and rear walls interconnected together at contiguous portions to form a seal extending below the periphery of said bottom portion.
13. The flexible bag of claim 10, wherein said front and rear walls have opposite longitudinal edges joined together by an elongate seal made at a contiguous portion thereof.
14. The flexible bag of claim 10, wherein the reclosable device is an easy-snap mechanism.
15. The flexible bag of claim 10, wherein the bag bottom is configured such that the bag conforms to a stand-up bag orientation.
16. The flexible bag of claim 10, wherein the side walls are gusseted on a lower portion thereof.
17. The method of forming a self-standing reclosable package comprising:
providing a supply web;
forming an opposed front wall and rear wall, wherein each wall has an upper and lower edge and longitudinal edges, such that the walls define a package opening at upper edges thereof;
forming a pair of gusseted sides between the front and rear walls, wherein the gussets are located on a lower portion of the sides;
attaching a supportive structure having a predetermined shape to an interior lower portion of the reclosable package, the supportive structure providing reinforcement to the package web material such that a portion of each wall and side engages the supportive structure and conforms to the orientation of the supportive structure, wherein a flat bottom is created on the package, the bottom of the package defining a base for the package to maintain a stand-up orientation;
attaching a reclosable device located proximate a bag opening, such that no gussets are required on an upper portion of the bag; and
wherein a flexible package configured so as to rigidly hold items within the bag while maintaining its predetermined shape is formed.
18. The method of claim 17, further comprising forming a base seal where the front and rear walls are interconnected together at contiguous portions, such that the gussets are formed on the sides when forming the base seal.
19. The method of claim 18, further comprising forming the package using a vertical form fill and seal system.
20. A manufactured package containing goods having a reclosable opening, the web manufactured package formed by:
providing a supply web;
providing a packaging mechanism for placing goods within the package formed from the supply web;
forming an opposed front wall and rear wall, wherein each wall has an upper and lower edge and longitudinal edges, such that the walls define a package opening at upper edges thereof;
forming a pair of gusseted sides between the front and rear walls, wherein the gussets are located on a lower portion of the sides;
forming a supportive structure having a predetermined shape to an interior portion of the reclosable package, the supportive structure providing reinforcement to the package web material such that a portion of each wall and side engages the supportive structure and conforms to the orientation of the supportive structure, and wherein the front and rear walls, the sides, and the supportive structure define an interior volume of the package;
attaching a reclosable device proximate the package opening[, such that no gussets are required on the upper portion of the package];
filling the interior volume of the package with goods; and
wherein a flexible package comprising a package body enclosing goods is formed.
21. The manufactured package of claim 20, further comprising locating the supportive structure on a lower portion of the package such that a flat bottom is created on the package, the bottom of the package defining a base for the package to maintain a stand-up orientation.
22. The manufactured package of claim 21, wherein the packaging mechanism is a vertical form fill and seal system.
23. The manufactured package of claim 21, further comprising sealing a reinforcing member to an upper portion of the package, such that the reinforcing member provides rigidity to said package and a predetermined shape to the upper portion of the package.
24. The manufactured self-standing package of claim 20, further comprising:
forming a seal along the bottom portion of the package, wherein portions of the front and rear walls are interconnected at contiguous portions to form the seal extending below the periphery of said bottom portion; and
forming a seal along the opposite longitudinal edges of the front and rear walls, wherein the elongate seal is made at a contiguous portion thereof and runs longitudinally along the rear wall.
25. The manufactured self-standing package of claim 24, further comprising covering the opening of the package to enclose the goods.
Description

This application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/698,009, filed Oct. 26, 2000, entitled “CUTTING AND LAMINATING APPARATUS FOR PRODUCING REINFORCED WEB,” and U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/410,149, filed Sep. 12, 2002, entitled “FLAT-BOTTOMED RECLOSABLE PACKAGE WITH GUSSETS.”

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to reclosable packaging with interior support, and manufacturing processes for the same. More specifically, the present invention relates to packaging that may include properties of both a reclosable/resealable bag, but more specifically the characteristics of a structured canister that provides support and protection to the contents of the packaging. The packaging of the present invention may be used to contain foodstuffs in a structured and supported manner that has the outward look and feel of a flexible bag.

Various existing packaging designs provide a reclosable feature that allows the contents of the packaging to be accessed multiple times and closed after each time the packaging is opened. For instance, for the purposes of food packaging, flexible bags and rigid canisters both provide distinct benefits. Bag-like designs offer flexible, lightweight packaging, which can be resealed with a plastic wrapping film or adhesive. Canister-like designs offer a more supportive container, which can be reclosed with a lid that is snapped or screwed into the body of the canister. Other packaging exists that offers some of the advantages of these designs, such as pouch packaging, which is flexible like a bag but can stand upright like a canister.

These existing packaging designs satisfy the basic goal of providing a reclosable enclosure for foodstuffs. However, the designs fail to address certain needs of the modern consumer. For instance, the bag designs offer little if any protection for the contents they enclose. Further, bag packaging generally cannot maintain a predetermined shape or configuration, nor stand upright. While pouch packaging can usually maintain its upright position, it fails to offer strong protection for its contents. Pouch packaging typically requires more side seals than exist on standard bag packaging, thereby incurring additional time and expense for the manufacturing process of pouch packaging.

Canister designs typically provide more support and protection to their contents than bag designs, but available canisters have a limited number of shapes or configurations and are restricted in the types of reclosable lids they can use. Perhaps even more significant, canister designs require dense materials that are expensive to acquire, manufacture, and transport.

In order to provide a case effective flexible reclosable package that maintains a predetermined shape while offering strong protection for the contents, it is contemplated that improvements are needed before consumers are provided with a plastic bag that meets their needs. These improvements must relate to structured packaging of the present invention that minimizes the materials required for producing each bag and reduces the overall production expenses by decreasing the number of manufacturing steps. Additionally, the present invention provides a reclosable structured packaging that is not limited to the methods of enclosing rigid canisters.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In order to provide cost effective, bag-like rigid packaging and an efficient method for manufacturing the same, the present invention provides flexible packaging with an interior support that is able to contain products such as snacks, confections, pet foods, and liquids. The structured packaging of the present invention provides for a bag that has been appropriately sheared and reinforced. The bag has a supportive structure affixed inside the package that can supply support for the product and provide a method for keeping the package open for easy access or pouring. Additionally, the bag may have a reclosable top portion that encloses the contents of the bag.

The bag of the present invention is preferably formed from a primary web, wherein a reinforcing material is utilized to selectively reinforce portions of the bag. Reinforcing the bag material is particularly useful at sealing points, reclosing points, and other locations on the bag that require additional strength and durability. Because the overall exterior of the packaging is created from a bag sheared of various webs, the manufacturing of the packaging requires fewer steps than known packaging designs. For instance, pouch packages are typically manufactured from webs as well but require multiple side seals, which involve additional manufacturing. The packaging of the present invention can provide an upright bag that requires only a single side seal.

The supportive structure inside the bag may be formed from a variety of materials, such as a flexible film packaging, into a variety of shapes. The support structure is a rigid material that may be manipulated into predetermined shapes and configurations using both known methods and those disclosed herein for manufacturing packaging. For example, the support may be a heat-sealable structure that is manipulated using laser scoring. The support structure in its final state is a relatively rigid body that has been formed into a predetermined shape, such as a box or tube. Alternatively, the support structure may be individual components that, when incorporated into the package, will form the desired structure.

When the supportive structure is appropriately formed, it is affixed to the inside the primary web such that the bag and structure is formed, and the supportive structure is in the lower portion of the bag so that the bag encapsulates the support. The support is generally borne by the bag and fits snuggly therein such that the bag fits around the exterior of the support and substantially conforms to the shape and configuration of the support. The support may be heat sealed or sealed via other methods, i.e., pressure sensitive adhesive, spray adhesive, ultrasonic and the like, to the bag to ensure that the support is properly retained therein. The upper portion of the bag may extend beyond the height of the support such that the upper portion of the bag is flexible and has the general characteristics of a bag without such support.

The support structure can either conform to the bag's shape or take a shape distinct from that of the bag. For instance, the packaging may take on a “box-in-a-bag” structure, where the support has a square or rectangular shape and the bag has a round shape, or the bag conforms to the support's rectangular shape. Alternatively, both the support and the bag may have a round shape, where the support is a tube-like structure and the round bag fits around the support. A variety of different shapes is contemplated being used for both the bag and the support structure while keeping within the teaching of the present invention.

In addition to the supportive structure inside the bag, the upper portion of the bag material may constitute either a reclosable or non-reclosable opening. Where the bag is recloseable, the reclosable means may be achieved with a plastic wrapping film, a zipper lock, resealable adhesive strips, easy-snap technology or any number of bag-closing approaches. Any of the existing methods of enclosing bag packaging are applicable.

Accordingly, the present invention provides a cost effective rigid packaging that maintains the versatility and manufacturing benefits of a more flexible bag/package. The structured packaging of the present invention minimizes the materials required for producing each bag and reduces the overall production expenses by decreasing the number of manufacturing steps. Additionally, the present invention provides a reclosable structured packaging that is not limited to the methods of enclosing rigid canisters. Any of the existing methods of enclosing bag packaging are usable with the structured packaging of the present invention. This and other benefits of the dual nature of a structured bag are achieved by the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be more fully and completely understood from a reading of the Detailed Description of the Invention in conjunction with the drawings, in which:

FIGS. 1A and 1B are a top and side view, respectively, of one embodiment of a reclosable package according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a reclosable package with a supportive structure where the top portion of the package is in a closed position;

FIG. 3 is a top view of the reclosable package of FIG. 2 with a supportive structure where the top portion of the package is in an opened position; and

FIG. 4 is an interior view of a reclosable package with a supportive structure, showing the supportive structure in more detail.

FIG. 5 is a first view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As shown in FIGS. 1A and 1B, a flexible package (bag 1) with a supportive structure 2 built into the package. The supportive structure 2 is appropriately formed and affixed to the lower portion 4 of bag 1 such that the bag encapsulates the support as shown. Preferably, the support for the supportive structure 2 is generally borne by the bag 1, and the supportive structure 2 fits snuggly therein such that the bag 1 fits around the exterior of the supportive structure 2 and substantially conforms to the shape and configuration of the supportive structure 2. The supportive structure 2 may be heat sealed, or the like, to bag 1 to ensure that supportive structure 2 is properly retained therein. The upper portion 6 of bag 1 may extend beyond the height of the support 2 such that the upper portion 6 of bag 1 is flexible and has the general characteristics of a bag without a support. For instance, the support may be 3½ inches in height, while the bag may extend upward beyond the top of the support an additional 4½ inches. The lower portion of bag 1 is shaped into a structured form that may give the packaging the ability to stand upright and protect its contents. The lower portion 4 of bag 1 may have any practical shape, such as square or rectangular, that provides stability and balance to the packaging. The upper portion 6 of bag 1 maintains bag-like characteristics and is not given the same structured form as lower portion 4. This configuration offers more protection to the contents of the packaging than a regular unstructured bag.

The upper portion 6 of bag 1 may constitute either a reclosable or non-reclosable opening. Where the bag is recloseable, the reclosable means may be achieved with a plastic wrapping film, a zipper lock, resealable adhesive strips, or any number of bag-closing approaches. For example, as shown in FIG. 1A and 1B, easy-snap technology 8 is used as a reclosable feature. The easy-snap technology is disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,350,057, 5,983,594, 5,944,425, 5,937,615, 5,928,749 and 4,679,693, all to Forman, and is incorporated herein by reference. As described herein, the reclosable portion of the bag may be created by selectively reinforcing parts of the main bag web with sheared reinforcing strips 18 that are laminated to the main bag web, as discussed in more detail below. See, FIG. 5.

The supportive structure can either conform to the bag's shape or take a shape distinct from that of the bag. For example, the packaging may take on a “box-in-a-bag” structure, where the support has a square or rectangular shape and the bag has a round shape or conforms to the support's rectangular shape. See FIGS. 2-4. As shown, bag 15 has a supportive structure 26 that has a square or rectangular shape, may be manufactured by scoring the supportive material at the fold locations. Various scoring methods will achieve the appropriate folds, including the laser scoring as previously described.

Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 5, both the support 18 and bag 19 may have a round shape, where support 18 is a tube-like structure and rounded bag 19 fits around support 18. A variety of different shapes are contemplated being used for both the bag and the support while keeping within the teaching of the present invention.

The supportive structure of the present invention inside the bag can be formed from a variety of materials, such as a flexible film packaging, into a variety of shapes. The support is a rigid material (relative to the primary web material) that can be manipulated into predetermined shapes and configurations by using both known methods and those disclosed herein for manufacturing packaging. For instance, the support may be a heat-sealable structure that is manipulated using laser scoring. The support, in its final state, is a relatively rigid body that has been formed into a desired shape such as a box, as shown in FIGS. 2-4 or tube.

Alternatively, the rigid body may be comprised of specific components that are configured to form the desired structure when incorporated into the bag. For instance, the rigid body may comprise two components that are fixedly attached to the bag: a first component that supports the left side of the bag and the portions of the front and back of the bag that are adjacent to the left side, and a second component that supports the right side of the bag and the portions of the front and back of the bag that are adjacent to the right side.

During assembly, the present invention as shown in FIGS. 1-5, may be formed from a primary web, and support structure/reinforcing material is utilized to selectively reinforce portions of the bag. Reinforcing the bag material is particularly beneficial at sealing points, reclosing points, or any other locations on the bag that require additional strength and durability. One method of providing the desired support or structure includes using a primary web handling system and a secondary web handling system, a cross web shear, a strip handling system and a laminating device. The primary web handling system handles the main web of packaging material, or primary web, which will be reinforced, via the secondary web handling system for later operations.

In order to provide the supportive structure/reinforcement, strips may be produced from a secondary web and then laminated to the primary web. Specifically, the secondary supply web may be fed by the secondary web handling system and provides reinforcing material to the cross web shear, which cuts the secondary web into reinforcing strips of selectable predefined width. Subsequently, the laminating device is then utilized to attach the reinforcing strip to the primary web at appropriate locations. More detail on the laminating process may be found in related application U.S. Ser. No. 09/698,009, filed Oct. 26, 2000, entitled “CUTTING AND LAMINATING APPARATUS FOR PRODUCING REINFORCED WEB”, which is incorporated herein by reference.

It is contemplated, to appropriately reinforce the primary web, the reinforcing strip/support structure can be relatively narrow and small compared to the primary web, and precisely positioned relative to the primary web. Lamination of the reinforcing strip to the primary web in the desired location is then easily accomplished. While the use of the above-described system is one way of efficiently reinforcing or providing structure to a package, other methods are also possible. For example, a pre-dimensioned reinforcing tape, pressure sensitive adhesive, spray adhesive, or ultrasonic adhesive may be used. Alternatively, the primary web material may be overlapped to provide multiple layers at the desired location.

After the appropriate portions of the primary web have been reinforced, the web is sheared, if necessary, and then the bag is formed therefrom with, for example, a top seal, a bottom seal and a length-wise seal, as shown in FIGS. 1-5. Referring to FIGS. 2-4, the bottom of the bag 15 may be gusseted 20 to form a flat surface 22 that causes the package to stand up. The bottom seal 24 is made by first folding the sides 26 of bag 15 towards the center thereof. While the sides are being held in place, the end of the bag is sealed to form a flat, square shaped surface that causes the packaging to stand upright. Another seal 28 may be formed length-wise along one side of the package to form the sides of the pack, defining the interior volume of the bag. More detail on a flat-bottomed stand up package may be found in Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/410,149, filed Sep. 12, 2002, entitled “FLAT-BOTTOMED RECLOSABLE PACKAGE WITH GUSSETS”, which is incorporated herein by reference.

The top of the bag may be sealed in a manner consistent with existing vertical form fill and seal technology (VFFS) and horizontal form fill and seal technology (HFFS). For example, in an VFFS environment, a flat, full-length seal across the width of the top of the bag is made. Since there are no gussets in the top seal, the addition of a reclosable feature is possible where the bag material is reinforced. The reclosable feature of the present invention may be achieved with any conventional re-closing mechanism, such as a zipper, zipper-slider seal, easy-snap technology, or adhesive strips.

A mechanical module, laser module, or the like may be used for scoring or perforating the reinforcing strips and support structure. The module can also be used to cut, slit, or mark selected portions of the support or the primary web used to form the bag. The module can be easily integrated into a packaging machine used to manufacture the present invention. More detail on laser scoring and perforating may be found in related application Ser. No. 09/698,009, filed Oct. 26, 2000, entitled “CUTTING AND LAMINATING APPARATUS FOR PRODUCING REINFORCED WEB”, as stated above.

Those skilled in the art will further appreciate that the present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or central attributes thereof. In that the foregoing description of the present invention discloses only exemplary embodiments thereof, it is to be understood that other variations are contemplated as being within the scope of the present invention. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited in the particular embodiments which have been described in detail therein. Rather, reference should be made to the appended claims as indicative of the scope and content of the present invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7887473Aug 20, 2009Feb 15, 2011Hosokawa Yoko Co., LtdPackaging bag
US8105638Nov 16, 2006Jan 31, 2012C-Pak, LlcReclosable package for a product
US8602244 *Jun 29, 2012Dec 10, 2013Clear Lam Packaging, Inc.Flexible, stackable sealed package having corner seals and formed from a sheet of film
US20100316310 *Jun 8, 2010Dec 16, 2010Material Engineering and Technical Support Services CorporationContainment Systems
US20100329591 *Jun 16, 2010Dec 30, 2010Daiwa Gravure Co., Ltd.Liquid storage bag
US20120298663 *May 26, 2011Nov 29, 2012Printpack Illinois, Inc.Flexible sturdy base container and method for making the same
US20120312868 *Jun 29, 2012Dec 13, 2012Clear Lam Packaging, Inc.Flexible, stackable container and method and system for manufacturing same
US20140262886 *Mar 12, 2013Sep 18, 2014Lf Centennial Ltd.Tool storage and transport system
Classifications
U.S. Classification383/119, 383/104, 383/63, 383/120, 383/122
International ClassificationB65D30/20, B65D33/02, B65D30/08, B65D33/25
Cooperative ClassificationB65D33/2508, B65D31/02, B65D31/10, B65D33/02
European ClassificationB65D33/25A, B65D31/10, B65D31/02, B65D33/02
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 8, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: DOBOY INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:SIG DOBOY, INC.;REEL/FRAME:015349/0589
Effective date: 20040802
Oct 21, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: SIG DOBOY INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:SIG PACK DOBOY INC.;REEL/FRAME:015274/0165
Effective date: 20010423
Jan 30, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: SIG PACK DOBOY INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:AASEN, ERIC J.;REEL/FRAME:014293/0960
Effective date: 20040116