US 20050077324 A1
An aperture forming structure for a sealed containment and dispensing package for flowable products is provided. The structure includes a breakaway tip member of thermoformable plastic. In one embodiment a cap may be integrally formed with the aperture forming structure and may be used to protect the tip member or for reclosing the aperture. An alternative embodiment relates to a pouch, wherein a flap member portion of the pouch is folded over and sealingly attached to the body of the pouch. When the flap member portion is pulled away from the body, an outlet aperture is produced through the surface of the pouch.
1. A sealed containment and dispensing package for flowable products comprising an aperture forming means wherein a portion of said aperture forming means is folded over to create a flap member which is sealingly attached to a portion of its own surface it covers which when the flap member is folded back it produces an outlet aperture in its surface.
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15. A sealed containment and dispensing package having an aperture forming means made of thermoformed plastic comprising a pair of hinged members, one member being a flap having a protrusion forming a flat topped drum shaped cap member, the other member having a mating protrusion of similar shape to said cap member with an aperture in its flat top surrounded by a generally flat rim so located that when said flap with the drum shaped cap member is hinged over the mating protrusion with the aperture in its flat top rim meets with the flat inner surface of the cap where by virtue of a preapplied peelable adhesive to at least one of the flat surfaces meeting they are peelably sealed together completely about said aperture.
This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/166,504, filed Nov. 19, 1999, entitled “RECLOSABLE DISPENSER PACKAGE, RECLOSABLE OUTLET FORMING STRUCTURE AND METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR MAKING SAME”, U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/184,512 filed Feb. 24, 2000, entitled “RECLOSABLE APERTURE FORMING MEANS”, U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/185,779 filed Feb. 29, 2000, entitled “RECLOSABLE APERTURE FORMING MEANS”, U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/211,865 filed Jun. 14, 2000, entitled “EASY OPENING POUCH”, U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/212,977 filed Jun. 21, 2000, entitled “EASY OPENING POUCH”, U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/224,654 filed Aug. 11, 2000, entitled “EASY OPEN POUCH”, U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/228,434 filed Aug. 28, 2000 entitled “EASY OPENING POUCH”, all by the same inventor of the instant non-provisional application, all of IS which are herein incorporated by reference.
This invention relates to easy opening, self-contained, easy to use, single or multiple use dispenser packages capable of economical, high speed production, manufactured from a broad range of materials, many of which are recyclable. They may contain such products as syrups, cream, cheeses, salad dressings, shampoo, hand-cream, liquid detergents, motor oil, toothpaste pates, pet food and many other products. It additionally relates to a package which has the capability of dispensing the contained product, e.g., mouthwash, cough syrup, confections, alcoholic beverages, etc., directly into the mouth of the user, and which also includes a reclosure cap member formed as an integral part of the package and which preferably is tethered to the package by a tether also formed integrally with the package. It will also be seen that the easy opening feature together with the reclosure cap and tether may be formed independently and sealed or adhered to the surface of many packages such as bags, milk containers, pouches, pillow packages (sachets), etc. to make for very efficient low cost dispensing packages or squeeze bags. These squeeze bag type packages could dispense food pastes such as pet food, cremes, grease, yogurt, certain types of dough, cake frosting and could be made of everything from treated, coated paperboard plastic films, foils, laminates or coextrusions of these materials. The easy opening means of this application in its preferred embodiment is comprised of a drum-like protrusion from which a secondary frusto conical protrusion extends to create a tip which is encircled at its base by a fault line. To create the aperture this tip is broken away by applying light lateral finger pressure. In order to protect this breakaway tip during shipment or for reclosing the aperture, a tethered cap is also formed adjacent to the double protrusion. The tether functions not only to hold the cap, thereby preventing the cap from being lost, but also to hold the cap [on the tip] in place by acting like a spring.
In an alternate aperture forming system the initial drum like protrusion has, instead of a frusto-conical breakaway tip, a fault line pattern defined in its top surface, so designed as to rupture to create an outlet of various required shapes when a puncturing tool/plug is pressed into said fault line pattern. Such puncturing tool/plug may be formed instead of a cap and may be tethered or the cap may be double ended with a cap formation on one end and the puncturing tool/plug formation on the other It will also be seen that a cap containing a protruding member formed within the cap similar to the style of a flower would perform as a central punch when the cap is pressed over the drum shaped protrusion. It will further be seen that in certain instances where a metal foil liner is required for a flowable product such as an alcoholic drink the drum shaped protrusion may be replaced by a moundlike protrusion with a central fault line pattern. The reason for such a moundlike shape instead of the drum shape is to prevent the stretching of the foil beyond its elastic limit at surface intersections in which case it would rupture during formation. Said pattern able to be punched open by a formed puncturing tool/plug said puncturing tool/plug may be thermoformed and tethered to the unit or may be independently made and the tether may have a formed ring at its free end into which the puncturing tool plug may be seated.
This invention also relates to a method and apparatus for manufacturing the aforesaid formation and packaging, reliably at high speed, in many cases from fully recyclable material, so as to permit such packages to be produced at low cost and, in many cases, recyclable. Additionally the packages may use less plastic material than most other previously known portion packages leading to source reduction and environmental benefits even when non-recyclable materials are used.
Various attempts have been made to provide a dispenser package in which a product may be packaged in the quantity normally required for single or multiple uses, and from which the contained product may be dispensed.
One type of such dispenser packages is a pillow pouch or sachet, typically made of relatively thin plastics and foils or combinations of laminated plastics and foils. These packages are most frequently encountered as containers for catsup, mustard, other condiments, homecare preparations such as hair conditioners, dyes and cremes, etc. Although this type of package is universally used, it is also universally disliked by the consumer. In order to access the contents, the pouch must be held in one hand while a tearing motion and force are applied by the other hand. Creating the initial tear to break the packages seal is often very difficult, often requiring the assistance of the user's teeth. Moreover, once the initial tear is created, the laminated foil and/or plastic material not only often tears in an uncontrolled fashion, but the holding pressure exerted by one of the user's hands often forces the contents out of the envelope not only before the user is ready to apply the contents, but even before the tearing motion is complete. Opening these packages leads to frayed tempers, broken fingernails, and chipped teeth, as well as other problems. The user must also use both hands to open the container. In the case of invalids, arthritis sufferers and other handicapped people, opening these packages is virtually impossible. Yet another problem associated with these prior packages is the impossibility of efficient reclosure, thereby precluding multiple use of the package, with consequent waste of the unused contents. Further disadvantages include the sachet's inability to function effectively with low viscosity products such as coffee cream, mouthwash or alcoholic beverages, due to the inability of the torn opening to control the direction of flow of such liquids from the package. These packages also are generally totally unrecyclable, and therefore become environmental pollutants. As above-mentioned however, should continued use of these sachets be preferred, then the easy opening feature of this application may be readily and economically adhered to the sachet to make for an easy opening, reclosable, high-barrier package.
Another dispenser package is the peel-top cup used for butter, margarine, syrup, sauces, salad dressing, and other similar products. This type of package requires good eyesight and manual dexterity. Such packages are often used as coffee creamers and have many disadvantages, including difficulty in peeling off the top in order to open, as well as difficulty in pouring, accidental spilling, and the inability to be reclosed so as to preclude more than a single use. Again the inventions described herein can be adhered or integrally formed into these packages to make them easy opening and reclosable. Yet another type of dispenser package is the unsealed corrugated paper package used for salt and/or pepper, which upon bending along an interrupted line cut through the corrugations forms an opening through which the salt or other material contained in the package may flow. These packages only dispense dry, solid flowables with the assistance of gravity, and cannot be used to contain, no less dispense, “wet” or liquid flowable materials. The package of this invention can contain and readily dispense both liquids and dry granular products.
Small, very expensive, metal capped bottles are used for alcoholic drinks and are either poured or consumed directly from the bottle. These bottles may be reclosed, but often are sized for a single drink so they do not have to be reclosed. The instant package can be used for alcoholic beverages at a fraction of the cost of the bottles.
Everyone is familiar with the ubiquitous gable top milk carton and everyone is familiar with the varying degrees of difficulty in opening them. These range from fingernail breaking to just plain unopenable without a knife or other tool.
They never truly reclose and at best are messy and unclean looking. In the U.S. there has been a move toward mounting a screw-on cap combination comprising a threaded nozzle member which is sealed onto one of the slanted gables of the carton and the other is an unattached screw-on cap. This little injection molded duo is costly to make and to install, possibly on the order of 3 to 5 cents and is commonly used on large gable top juice containers in the half gallon size. These are expensive, high profit items selling for about three dollars each and can bear the extra tariff for the screw-on outlets. There are however billions of these gable top units sold annually for milk and cream in varying sizes from half-pints to half gallons. Producers however are reluctant to increase carton cost significantly and the public continues to use difficult to open cartons.
The instant invention makes available a sealed and tamper evident outlet with a tethered cap, both formed in a single, small plastic unit which can be, readily sealed or adhesively attached to the gable over a small pre-made hole. It is ultra low cost and may be made of polypropylene, high density polyethylene, PVC. Polyester etc. utilizing material costing small fractions of a cent. It will be seen that the cap serves a double purpose. It enables the outlet to be reclosed after opening and of equal importance, since the cap is in place over the breakaway tip during shipment it protects the tip from being accidentally hit or subjected to any forces which may open the outlet.
It may be seen that the lower drum-like formation beneath the breakaway tip may be elongated so that when the tip is broken away, an elongated nozzle remains which would allow the flowable substance to be ingested directly from the container or as in the case of motor oil, being poured directly into the engine oil inlet. Another disadvantage currently experienced with dispensing packages is the closing of the outlet opening. Closing the outlet opening of tubes is presently accomplished by means of an injection molded screw-on cap which normally includes a compressible gasketing material. The end of the tube requires a mating thread to match the cap. Both the separately molded gasketed cap and the threaded tube result in increased manufacturing costs. Additionally, the cap, as often as not, is dropped and/or lost while it is being threaded on or off. Furthermore, there has been a growing trend to manufacture such tubes at still greater cost by providing hinged caps with a flat end surface which permits the tube to stand upright. Thus, the cap members currently in use have the disadvantage that they tend to increase the overall cost of manufacture of the dispensing package.
It is therefore an object of this invention to provide a new and improved means of creating an aperture in a thermoformable plastic material as well as an integrally formed cap and tether where necessary.
A further object is to form independently such aperture creating means with or without a cap and/or tether for adhesion to other forms of previously difficult to open or non-reclosable packaging.
Another object of this invention is to provide new and improved dispenser packages.
Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved aperture-forming structure for a dispenser package which allows the user to easily and controllably dispense the contents of the package directly to the user's mouth or in a directionally controlled manner, as desired.
Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved aperture-forming structure for a dispenser package which opens easily and reliably and yet which can be manufactured economically and at high speed.
Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved reclosable dispenser package so that the contents thereof may be dispensed in consecutive uses and the outlet opening reclosed between uses.
A further object of this invention is to provide a new and improved reclosable package with an attached cap member formed from the same plastic film which cap member may be thereafter placed over the unopened aperture forming means to protect it and/or to reclose the package after opening.
Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved reclosable package and removable cap member which may be formed as an integral unit and where the cap member is attached to an integrally made tether and remains attached to the package and which may be placed over the unopened aperture forming means to protect it from changes or accidental opening during shipping and handling.
Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved reclosable package and tethered cap member which may be formed as an integral unit from a thermoformable material.
Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved reclosable package and tethered cap member which may be formed as an integral unit from a thermoformable plastic material that is recyclable.
Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved dispenser package and cap member wherein the cap member has an open-ended top of predetermined shape so that, upon placing the cap over the aperture of the package the contents may be dispensed in such shaped stream.
Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved dispenser package and cap member wherein the cap member includes a utensil device such as tiny protrusions or a flattened surface structure so that the cap member may function as a tool to brush, spread, or otherwise handle the contents dispensed from the package.
Another object of the invention is to replace the cap member with a dual function punch/plug member capable of punching through a tough pre-scored formation to create an aperture and to further act as a plug to close said aperture.
A still further object of this invention is to provide a new and improved method of making a dispenser package embodying the aforesaid features.
Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved method of thermoforming a dispenser package from a recyclable plastic material at high speed and yet provide a finished package which may be easily and reliably opened by the user.
Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved apparatus for forming an aperture-forming structure for a dispenser package.
Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved apparatus for forming a nozzle-like aperture structure in a dispenser package so that, upon opening, the contents of the package may be dispensed in a directionally controllable manner.
Another object of this invention is to provide a new and improved self-centering and self-aligning punch and die apparatus adapted to accurately and reliably form a thermoformable material into a hollow tip-like configuration having a peripherally extending fault line so as to permit the tip to be readily broken away by the user to form an aperture opening through which the contents of the package may be dispensed.
The foregoing specific objects and advantages of the invention are illustrative of those which can be achieved by the present invention and are not intended to be exhaustive or limiting of the possible advantages which may be realized. Thus, these and other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the description herein or can be learned from practicing the invention, both as embodied herein or as modified in view of any variations which may be apparent to these of ordinary skill in the art, the same being realized and attained by means of the parts, constructions and instrumentations, and combinations thereof, as well as in the steps and processes pointed out in the appended claims. The present invention resides in the novel parts, constructions, arrangements, combinations, steps and processes, and improvements, herein shown and described.
Briefly described this invention is directed to a new reclosable aperture forming means which may be formed with an integrally formed cap member which may be tethered to said aperture forming means to create a unit which may be independently formed and adhesively or sealingly attached to a container wall or surface over a hole in said container wall to create an easy opening, reclosable, when necessary, dispensing package. Said reclosable aperture forming means embodying an integral, hollow protrusion member preferably comprised of two stages, a drum shaped base from which extends a generally conical or frusto-conical tip, said tip member having a fault line encircling it at its juncture with the flat top surface of the first drumlike formation which may be readily broken off to form an opening through which the contents of the package may be dispensed in a directionally controllable stream. After the tip of the protrusion member is broken off by applying light lateral finger pressure, the desired quantity of the contents may thereafter be expelled through the opened nozzle-like outlet by gentle hand squeezing of the package.
In a second embodiment the entire reclosable aperture forming means may be integrally formed into what will become an easy to use reclosable dispensing package. In this second embodiment a generally relatively flexible, compressible pouch or container member is sealably attached to a cover member forming the top or lid of the package. The cover member includes the new reclosable aperture forming means and tethered cap member as described above and similarly used.
In another desirable embodiment the pouch or container member has the integral hollow protrusion and tethered cap member thermoformed into the underside of its relatively stiff rim. The advantage of this version being that the cover member then becomes a relatively thin skinlike member which is very easy to print and less expensive than the formed upper cover member.
The aforesaid cap member which is initially formed with the package as an integral unit is preferably formed along one peripheral edge of either the cover member forming the top or lid of the package relatively closely adjacent to the breakaway protrusion member or on the underside of the rim. A cut line may create a tether member which permits the cap member to be mechanically removed by the user from its molded position in production and placed over the opened nozzle-like aperture forming means so as to protect the breakaway tip during shipping and handling, while remaining tethered to the package. As also preferably embodied, the aforesaid cap member permits the end user of the package to readily open or reclose the package after each use.
In other alternative embodiments of the dispenser package of the present invention:
It will be understood that the foregoing preferred embodiments of the dispenser package of the present invention may be thermoformed from a wide variety of plastic materials, including, e.g., PP (polypropylene) Barex, HDPE (high density polyethylene), HIPS (high impact polystyrene) and foamed HIPS, as well as various laminations and/or coextrusions of the aforesaid materials and other plastic materials, including, e.g., PP/EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol)/PP; Barex/PP; Barex/EVOH/PP; PET (polyethylene tetrafluoride)/LLDPE (linear low density polyethylene); PET/EVOH/LLDPE; PVC (polyvinylchloride)/LLDPE; NY (nylon)/LLDPE; and NY/EVOH/LLDPE. Alternatively, the aperture forming means and the dispenser packages of the present invention may be formed by injection molding.
It also will be understood that the foregoing preferred embodiments of the dispenser packages of the present invention may be manufactured in a wide variety of sizes, as desired, although the preferred size range is from about 2 ml capacity to about 4 fluid ounce capacity. Similarly, the aforesaid package may be manufactured in a wide range of dimensions. A typical size for a package containing 30 ml or 1 fluid ounce of material is on the order of about 1 inch deep by about 1 inch wide by about 3 to 4 inches long, which fits comfortably in the palm of the hand of most users. Furthermore, the independent formations of aperture forming means and the tethered caps may be applied to a very wide range of packaged from single use sizes to half gallons.
Briefly described, as preferably embodied, the apparatus of the present invention forming the preferred aperture-forming protrusion member in the cover member of the dispenser package includes a two-stage punch member which advances to engage and clamp a thermoformable material against a self-centering and self-aligning hollow anvil member. The first punch member advances to initially form a hollow, drum-shaped protrusion in a specific heated area of the thermoformable material. Thereafter, a second punch member preferably located within, and moveable relative to, the first punch member continues to advance forward. The second punch member includes a first generally frusto-conically shaped surface adapted to form a substantially cylindrical or frusto-conically shaped hollow tip member extending from the drum-like protrusion formed by the first punch member. At the moment formation of the hollow tip member is completed, the forward advancement of the second punch brings a second shallow conical surface into cooperating engagement with the peripheral edge or rim defining the hollow portion of the anvil member to thereby compress the wall of the formed hollow tip about a peripheral portion thereof to create a weakened fault line in the hollow tip protrusion member. As here preferably embodied, the aforesaid punch and anvil members create a fault line at the base of the aforesaid hollow tip protrusion member which extends continuously about the periphery thereof.
In an alternative embodiment of the apparatus of the present invention, the heated sheet of thermoformable material is clamped against the anvil member and a single stage punch member having a generally frusto-conically shaped forward end portion is thereafter advanced to form the aforesaid hollow, substantially cylindrical or frusto-conically shaped tip member. At the moment formation of the hollow tip member is completed, the rim of the anvil member compresses the wall of the hollow tip member about the periphery thereof to create a weakened fault line. It will be seen that the heated thermoformable film (material) may be clamped against a relatively thin plate spaced away from the anvil which contains an accurately aligned hole centered on the aperture of the anvil member. In this embodiment, between the punch and anvil the film will be formed into a conical member as the punch is advanced through the plate and said conical member will then be further formed until it contacts the peripheral edge or rim at the opening of the aperture in the anvil. This alternate apparatus creates a fault line banding or girdling the formed conically-shaped tip member at a predetermined point between its base and its apex.
It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the foregoing various brief descriptions and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory of the present invention, but are not intended to be restrictive thereof or limiting of the advantages which can be achieved by the invention or various combinations thereof. The accompanying drawings, referred to herein and constituting in part hereof, illustrate preferred embodiments of the invention and, together with the detailed description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.
Referring now more particularly to
As illustrated in
Materials such as high-impact polystyrene (HIPS), high density polyethylene (HDPE) polyester, HDPE/EVOH (high density polyethylene/ethylene vinyl alcohol), Barex, polypropylene, etc. may be used. HIPS, HDPE, and HPDE/EVOH are each low cost and can be recycled. HDPE/EVOH creates a superior O2 barrier.
As will be understood by those skilled in the art, whereas plastics of similar material may be heat-sealed or bonded together, heat sealing different plastics together requires an adhesive layer. Preferably, linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) is used as such a layer. Thus, multi-layered plastics formed by coextrusion may be sealed together to form sheet 12 having sealant/barrier 14 of the present invention.
Also suitably bonded to one face of bonded sheet 12, 14 is a flexible sheet 18 forming at least one pouch chamber 22 adjacent one face of the relatively stiff sheet 12 or bonded sheet 12, 14 for containing a preferably flowable substance, e.g. a dry powdered or granulated material or a liquid material of any suitable viscosity capable of flowing under light to moderate hand pressure.
Advantageously, and as here preferably embodied, the layer of a suitable sealant/vapor impervious barrier material 14 is suitably integrally bonded to sheet 12 on the inner surface 16 which faces flexible sheet 18. Flexible sheet 18, advantageously formed by conventional means, such as vacuum forming, pressure forming, mechanical forming or combinations thereof, is likewise suitably integrally bonded to either inner surface 16 or sealant/barrier 14 of sheet 12, as the case may be.
The bonds between substantially flat relatively stiff sheet 12, sealant/barrier material 14 and flexible sheet 18 also may be formed by conventional means known to persons of ordinary skill in the packaging art, such as welding, heat sealing, or adhesive or cohesive bonding. It will be understood that the particular bonding method selected depends upon the particular properties of the materials used and the flowable substance(s) to be contained in the package.
Advantageously, and as preferably embodied, sheet 12 is preferably made of polypropylene (PP), Barex, high impact polystyrene (HIPS) or high-density polyethylene (HDPE), but when combined with barrier 14 may be made of polystyrene, polyester, EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene tetrafluoride (PET) or nylon, or a copolymer thereof, and barrier 14 is made of a suitable sealant/vapor impervious barrier material, preferably comprising saran and foil laminate, or comprising a laminate of foil and vinyl, or foil alone, depending on the nature of the contents to be contained.
A particularly tough high barrier construction comprises saran laminated on each side with polyethylene (sold by Dow Chemical Co. under the name “Saranex”) as barrier sheet 14, in turn laminated onto polystyrene or polyester, forming the flexible but relatively stiff sheet 12. The thickness of sheet 12 varies according to factors, such as the properties of the materials used, the flowable substance contained, and the intended usage. A generally utilized range is 4-12 mils (0.004-0.012″). As previously noted, sheet 12 preferably is somewhat flexible, although more rigid than the material 18 forming pouch 22, and preferably is stiffened by raised portion 11 a formed in cover 11 in the preferred construction of package 10.
It will be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art that the bonds formed between materials 12, 14 and 18 can be obtained by the conventional means previously described, again depending on the nature of the flowable substance being contained.
It will be seen from the foregoing that the structure of
In accordance with the present invention as preferably embodied, the relatively stiff generally flat sheet 12 forming cover 11 includes an aperture-forming protrusion structure 30 which includes a neck member 32 and a breakaway tip member 34 so that, upon removal of tip 34, neck 32 forms a nozzle-like aperture in package 10 through which the contents may be dispensed in a directionally controllable manner.
Neck and tip protrusions 32, 34 preferably are substantially hollow, substantially cylindrical and tip 34 preferably is substantially cylindrical or frusto-conical. In the preferred embodiment as shown in the plan view of
In accordance with the present invention, as preferably embodied, dispenser package 10 includes a cap member 110 formed as an integral part of cover 11. Advantageously, cap member 110 is removable from cover 11 along a line.
It will be seen that the cap 110 protects the breakaway tip structure 30 from inadvertently breaking off during shipping and handling prior to use, as well as providing a means to reclose the package after opening, i.e., after the protrusion tip member 34 is broken off. Thus, cap 110 protects the remaining contents of the package after each use, permitting multiple uses. The advantage of the tethered embodiment of the invention is that it costs practically nothing, acts as a side pressure spring to maintain the cap on the neck 32 at the opening, acts as a grasping member to assist removal of the cap for each subsequent use, and prevents loss of the cap before the contents of the package have been fully dispensed and the package is ready to be disposed of. Further details of the cap are explained below.
In practically all cases, however, it is believed preferable to provide the two-stage breakaway tip configuration since the first projecting cylindrical formation 32 acts as a nozzle yielding directionally controllable product dispensation, after the tip, i.e., second protrusion 34, is broken off. Low and medium viscosity flowable products tend to squirt “side-ways” or spurt in non-controllable directions, when passing through an aperture formed in the plane of the cover member. Furthermore, elevating the breakaway tip from the surface of the cover member greatly enhances its ease of use with no practical increase in manufacturing cost.
In use, as here preferably embodied, package 10 preferably is positioned so that pouch or chamber 22 rests in the palm of the hand with the thumb resting on the cover 11. The thumb or finger of the holding hand, or the user's other hand, if desired, may then be used to apply a light finger pressure against the side of protrusion tip 34, i.e., the breakaway tip, thereby causing tip 34 to break off, leaving an open neck or nozzle-like aperture 32.
Once tip 34 is removed and the package thereby opened, the contents of the package 10 may be expelled. This method of use depends on the type of substance contained in the package and where the user would like to place the contents. For example, if the package contains toothpaste, the open nozzle 32 preferably would be placed over a tooth brush, whereupon gentle squeezing of the package 10 will force the toothpaste onto the toothbrush. If the contents of the package are intended to be placed directly into the user's mouth, or the mouth of a patient, such as for oral medicine or mouthwash, the open nozzle 32 then may be placed directly into the mouth and a portion, or all, of the contents may then be directed into the mouth by squeezing the package. When the desired quantity of the contents of the package has been expelled, if some contents remain, package 10 may then be reclosed for future use by placing cap 110 over the open nozzle 32.
As previously mentioned, as here preferably embodied, package 10 further includes a cap 110. While cap 110 may be formed separately from the other elements of package 10, in the preferred embodiment cap 110 is integrally formed with and is at least partially detachable from the relatively stiff sheet 12 forming cover 11, as shown in
As shown in
Cap 110 typically is unthreaded and is dimensioned to fit smoothly, yet securely, over the necked protrusion 32, which preferably also is smooth and unthreaded, both before and after removal of tip 34. Cap 110 has a base 126 which lies flat against the top of cover 11. Tether 130 has several advantages. First, it has been discovered that the tether 130 acts as a spring pressing the cap against the sidewall of the necked protrusion 32, thereby assisting to hold cap 110 in place when it is placed over the necked protrusion 32. Additionally, tether 130 provides the added benefit of preventing the cap 110 from becoming lost and allows the user to grip the tether 130 to assist in removal of the cap 130 from the aperture-forming structure 30 or from open nozzle 32.
Cap 110 of the present invention can be designed in several different embodiments. For example, in the embodiment shown in
An alternative to the embodiment shown in
It will be understood that the aperture-forming protrusion structure 30 may be made by a variety of methods and apparatus. In accordance with the present invention, however, as preferably embodied, a web of thermoformable material to be formed into cover 11 is first heated to a sufficient forming temperature. The web is then formed into the hollow cylindrical protrusion 32 with a closed end. The closed end portion of the cylinder 32 is then further deformed in its central section to create the tip 34. At the moment tip 34 is completely formed, the intersection of the base of tip 34 and cylinder 32 is compressed, reducing its thickness, to thereby create a fault line extending about the periphery of the base of tip 34.
Also in accordance with the present invention, as here preferably embodied, aperture-forming protrusion 30 is formed by means of a self-centering and self-aligning male and female punch and die apparatus, indicated generally at 40, as shown in
Apparatus 40 includes feed rollers 42 or other means to advance the web or film “F” of thermoformable material into a heating station 44 where a heater block 46 advances against the film to press the sheet against a stationary heater block 48, which is temperature controlled by a thermocouple 50 and supplied with necessary power at connection 51. An air cylinder 52 provides the driving force to move the heater block 46 by means of shaft 54. The heater block 46 includes two heaters energized by an appropriate power source 58.
A two-stage punch member 60 includes a first male punch 62 formed as a generally cylindrical hollow punch having a substantially flat end surface 64 at its operative end. When the first punch member is advanced, the end surface 64 engages and deforms the heated sheet of thermoformable, preferably plastic, material F, compressing the plastic against a similarly shaped, oppositely mounted, generally cylindrical hollow anvil member 66 movable in a bore 68 of a support 70. The anvil 66 has an end face 71. The first punch 62 has a clearance fit with the bore 68 so it can be moved therein to confront the end face of the anvil 66. Anvil 66 has an aperture bore 67 formed as part of its hollow portion.
Anvil 66 is part of a spring-loaded rocker member 72, preferably supported by a ball-shaped member 74, or other similarly shaped curved rocker device, in a larger base opening 75 so as to be both resilient and self-centering and self-aligning with punch member 60. Although rocker 74 is preferably curved or ball-shaped, a relatively flat surface in spring-mounted engagement with the base of adjustable mechanism 89 also serves to self-center the aperture opening 67 of anvil member 66 with respect to frusto-conical surface 84 and bevelled surface 83 of second punch 80, more fully described hereinafter. The peripheral edge or rim of aperture 67 in anvil 66 is smaller than the bore of punch 62 to create an internal shoulder 76 when the opposing substantially flat end surfaces 64, 71 of the hollow cylindrical punch member 62 and the anvil member 66 are brought together. The anvil and first punch are preferably made of hardened steel.
In use, at the end of the first stage of the formation of the aperture-forming protrusion 30, shown in
A second punch member 80 is mounted for travel within a hollow bore 81 and beyond the end face 64 of the first punch member 62. The second punch member 80 includes a shaft 82 whose operative end surface includes a shallow bevel 83, advantageously on the order of 450, terminating into a conically-shaped portion 84 with a flat end face 85 forming a frusto-conically shaped tip, indicated generally at 86. The second punch member and its bevel 83 advances into controlled engagement with the internal peripheral edge of the shoulder 76 formed at the opposed end surfaces 64, 71 of the first punch 62 and anvil 66.
In one aspect of the present invention, as preferably embodied, the second punch member 80 can be constructed in multiple parts. For example, each of the frusto-conical and beveled portions 84, 83 may be formed separately and removably attached to the leading end surface of the shaft 82, such as by threaded connections. Alternatively, shaft 82 and tip portions 83, 84 may be formed as an integral unit. The second punch member is driven by air cylinder 87.
It will be understood from the foregoing that the full length of the frusto-conical end 86 of punch 80 continues to travel past the formed internal shoulder 76 and into the anvil aperture 67 until such time as bevel surface 83 is brought into accurately controlled cooperating engagement with the internal peripheral edge of the internal shoulder 76 formed by the opposed end surfaces 64, 71 of the first punch 62 and the anvil 66. Advancement of punch surface 83 against shoulder 76 is accurately controlled by micrometer punch adjustment mechanism 88 and anvil adjustable stop mechanism 89.
The still-heated closed end of the initially formed hollow cylinder 32, i.e., the first drum-like protrusion of the aperture-forming structure 30 is, in a second stage, further formed into a substantially cylindrical or frusto-conically shaped tip 34, i.e., the second protrusion of the aperture-forming structure 30, by the advancing second punch member until the shallow bevelled surface 83 of punch 80 engages the plastic sheet. At that time, the second punch surface 83 controllably compresses, cools and sets the plastic web F against the internal peripherally extending edge formed at shoulder 76 of the anvil to reduce the thickness, and thereby weaken, the wall of the plastic at the locus of the peripheral edge so as to form a narrow, peripherally extending indentation 100, known as a rupture or fault line, at the base of tip protrusion 34. It will be seen that fault line 100 permits the tip protrusion 34 to be readily broken away by means of only light lateral pressure to thereby form a nozzle-like outlet opening at neck protrusion 32.
It should be noted that changes in the dimensions of the beveled end 86 and the anvil 66 are within the scope of the present invention. For example, it is often desirable to produce a fine stream of the contents of a container, such as motor oil. Consequently, the opening formed by the base of the tip protrusion 34 must be relatively small, such as shown in
In other applications, where the contents of a container are large particles, such as cat food, the opening must be relatively large, such as shown in
In an alternate embodiment illustrated in
In yet another alternative embodiment illustrated in
In an alternative embodiment illustrated in
Referring now more particularly to
It has been found that the embodiments of
Referring now more particularly to
With reference to
With reference to
In one embodiment of the present invention, base 330 and tip 340 are cylindrical or substantially cylindrical, although it is to be understood that other shapes may be used. In this embodiment, the opening 350 is made of PET-PVC-BAREX. It is to be understood, however, that other materials in accordance with the present invention may be used.
As can be seen in
With reference to
As shown in
It is also to be understood that this embodiment of the present invention may be used in a wide variety of applications, including dispensers for creamers, unit dose medications, salad dressings, beauty aids, dental products, condiments, candy confections, syrups, granular products, etc. It is also to be understood that this embodiment of the present invention may be manufactured by utilizing a male punch member in conjunction with a self-centering and receding female anvil system, as previously shown and described.
Although the use of a tether limits the rotation of a cap pressed onto a base formation, a twist-lock or twist-threading arrangement may also be used to secure the cap to the base. With reference to
As an alternative to the breakaway tip and tethered cap arrangement, the present invention also includes a tethered plug/punch and scored surface arrangement as shown in
An alternative embodiment of the present invention will now be discussed with reference to
As can best be seen in
The mound 530 further includes a fault line pattern or scored pattern 532. The fault lines 532 may take on any number of patterns, such as those shown in
The punch/plug 520 is secured to the outlet forming structure 510 via a tether 524. The tether 524 is created by a cut 522 through the foil/plastic laminate. As can best be seen in
In operation, the punch/plug 520 is firmly pushed into the fault line pattern 532 to rupture the scored mound 530. This operation is best shown in
In an alternative embodiment, however, the foil layer 534 may span the hollow base of the mound 530 by being laminated only to the periphery of the mound. Of course, in such an embodiment, the punch/plug 520 must be long enough to extend past the plane of the foil 534 so that the foil 534 may be punctured. By wobbling the punch/plug 520 while inserted into the mound 530, the opening in the foil is enlarged.
It should be noted that the mound 530 strengthens the outlet forming structure 510. Furthermore, the shape of the mound 530 provides a nozzle function, directing the contents of the container 500 in an even stream. Depending upon the contents of the container 500, the dimensions and shape of the mound 530 may be altered to provide the desired flow.
The outlet forming structure 510 of
In an alternative embodiment, which will now be described with reference to
The outlet forming structure 610 may be of any type previously disclosed above, such as those described with reference to
The outlet forming structure 610 also includes a cap 620. The cap 620 is a hollow tapered member, which has an inside base diameter slightly larger than the outside diameter of the base 632 of the protrusion structure 630. The cap 620 is secured to the outlet forming structure 610 via a tether 624. The tether 624 is formed by a cut 622 through the lower surface 612 of the outlet forming structure 610. As can best be seen in
In operation, a user applies sidewise finger pressure to the protrusion tip 634, thereby causing it to break away from the protrusion base 632 along a fault line 636. Because the protrusion structure 630 is substantially hollow, an aperture, not shown, is created. Furthermore, because the protrusion member 630 has been affixed to the pouch 600 over a hole in the pouch, not shown, the contents of the pouch 600 may be dispensed via the now opened protrusion neck 632. The cap 620 is placed over the base 632 during shipping, so that accidental rupturing of the fault line 636 is prevented. Furthermore, cap 620 is placed over the base 632 to reclose the package 600 when only a portion of the contents of the package 600 has been dispensed.
In an alternative embodiment, shown in
An alternative embodiment of the present invention employing an outlet forming structure 610 a disposed on a foil pouch 640 a will now be described with reference to
An alternative embodiment of the present invention will now be described with reference to
As shown, the ring structure 740 defines an opening 750. The opening 750 is larger than the tip 762 of the punch/plug 760 yet smaller than the base 764 of the punch/plug 760. Furthermore, the punch/plug 760 includes a circumferential indentation 766. The indentation 766 is formed on the punch/plug 760 just below a point where the outside diameter of the punch/plug 760 becomes larger than the inside diameter of the opening 750.
Therefore, once the components have been separately manufactured, the punch/plug 760 is snapped into the opening 750. When snapped into the opening 750, the tapered punch/plug 760 causes the slightly elastic ring structure 740 to expand until the ring structure 740 reaches the indentation 766. Upon reaching the indentation 766, the ring structure 740 snaps into the indentation 766. Consequently, the punch/plug 760 becomes connected to the ring structure 740 and the other components.
In use, as shown in
Turning now to
It is to be understood that the mating, horse-shoe arrangement of the outlet forming structures 870, 880 provides several benefits, such as reclining wasted portions of the web F, and that the manufacturing agreement may be repeated along the length of the web F.
Turning now to
The container 1000 comprises a first deformable pouch 1010 and a second deformable 1020. The two pouches 1010, 1020 are joined by a shallow conduit 1030. The deformable pouches 1010, 1020, as well as the joining conduit 1030, are sealed by a generally flat sheet 1040 of thermoformable plastic material. A hollow protrusion 1050 is integrally formed with the flat sheet of thermoformable plastic 1040. The hollow protrusion 1050 extends from the flat sheet 1040. The protrusion 1050 is directly above and in fluid communication with the conduit 1030. The container 1000 further includes a punch/cap 1060.
As can best be seen in
In order to open the container 1000, the punch/cap 1060 is positioned over the protrusion 1050. The punch/cap 1060, and more specifically the pointed end 1066 of the punch/cap 1060 is forced through the score or fault lines 1055, thereby opening the hollow protrusion 1050. When punch/cap 1060 is removed from the hollow protrusion 1050, an opening, not shown, exists. The opening is formed by the permanent deformation of the portion of the protrusion member 1050 between the fault lines 1055. By inverting the container 1000 and gently squeezing either or both of the pouches 1010, 1020 the material contained within the pouches is dispensed via the opening in the protrusion 1050.
It should be noted that in the preferred embodiment the protrusion 1050 is placed directly above the conduit 1030. As a result, the contents of the pouches 1010, 1020 can be dispensed in a controlled manner. Specifically, the shallow conduit 1030 provides resistance to the flowing contents so that the contents do not spout from the opened protrusion 1050 uncontrollably, particularly when the protrusion 1050 is initially punctured.
As shown in
With regard to the embodiment of
An alternative embodiment of the present invention will now be described with reference to
Because the outlet forming structure 1070 is formed in a curvilinear base 1078, it may be positioned on a container 1080 having a similar curvilinear surface. As shown in
In operation, as shown in
Another alternative embodiment of the present invention will now be described with reference to
Also formed in the rectangular sheet 1091 of thermoformable material is a cap member 1094. The cap member 1094 is preferably formed in one corner of the rectangular sheet 1091 and attached to the container 1090 via a tether 1096. The tether 1096 is formed by a cut 1097 extending along the perimeter of the container 1090.
The container 1090 may be folded generally in half along bending grooves 2006 disposed on either side of the aperture forming structure 1092. Specifically, the ends of the container 1090 are brought together as depicted by arrows “A” in
Engagement of the female package tie 2000 and the male package tie 2002 hold the container 1090 in the configuration as shown in
Another alternative embodiment of the present invention will now be described with reference to
As with the previously described embodiments, in operation, lateral pressure on the breakaway tip 2020 causes it to separate from the rest of the aperture forming structure 2016, thereby forming an aperture into the generally hollow aperture forming structure 2016. Thus, the contents of the container 2010 may be dispensed therefrom.
Another alternative embodiment is described in
As shown in
It may be seen from the Figures that the tip could be located in the wall beneath a flap and sealed to the flap in which case the outlet hole would remain in the wall when the flap was folded back and the tip would remain on the flap. It may also be seen that the flap may be bent from a corner as shown in
Another alternative embodiment is described in
In its preferred embodiment, the breakaway tip 2202 should require a firm pull to break it away with an audible snap to insure the user that it was not tampered with. Break resistance is fully adjustable during manufacture. It can also be seen that the unit may be made of clear plastic so that the tip may be seen before broken away to show any evidence of tampering.
As illustrated in
As illustrated in
An alternative embodiment is described with reference to
It may also be seen that the inner top surface 2410 of the cap 2408 which covers the lower drum 2412 may have an adhesive applied to it rather than the rims 2404 and around the hole 2402. It may also be desirable to have the adhesive 2406 applied to the upper rim surface of the drum 2412 as well as the inner mating surface 2410 of the cap 2408. It may be seen that adhesive could be applied to the walls of the drum, however, it would be very difficult to rupture by hand. Since there is no longer a tip protrusion, the inner surface 2410 of the cap 2408 should be dimensioned so as to bring the adhesive into contact at the upper surface of the drum 2412.
As illustrated in
Another alternative embodiment is described in
The purpose of the seals 2600 shown in
An easy opening rectangular pouch or other shape or form of packaging which has a fault line created in one wall or face of the pouch which at least partially encircles a portion of an area of a wall coated with peelable adhesive. The end portion of said pouch or a corner or like part of said pouch is then folded over to create a flap over the fault line partially encircled area of peelable adhesive. The surface of said flap is then sealed to the peelable adhesive at another location of its own surface at least within the confines of the area of adhesive encircled by the fault line. Either pressure sensitive or heat sealable adhesive may be used. The pouch may be opened by lifting the flap which tears out the fault line encircled adhesive together with the part of the wall it adhered to create an outlet aperture.
It may be seen that the peelable adhesive may extend beyond or outside of the at least partially encircling fault line but only the encircled wall area will be torn away to create the aperture.
It may also be seen that the outflow of product may be controlled by the additions of seals 3000 which extend in from the edge as in
Modern technology has developed laser systems which can put score or fault lines in very thin films.
It will remain understood by those skilled in the art that the present invention in its broader aspects is not limited to the particular embodiments shown and described herein, and that variations may be made without departing from the principles of the invention and without sacrificing its chief advantages.