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Publication numberUS20050167311 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/964,981
Publication dateAug 4, 2005
Filing dateOct 14, 2004
Priority dateOct 14, 2003
Publication number10964981, 964981, US 2005/0167311 A1, US 2005/167311 A1, US 20050167311 A1, US 20050167311A1, US 2005167311 A1, US 2005167311A1, US-A1-20050167311, US-A1-2005167311, US2005/0167311A1, US2005/167311A1, US20050167311 A1, US20050167311A1, US2005167311 A1, US2005167311A1
InventorsBrad Tonsfeldt, Julie Cardin
Original AssigneeBrad Tonsfeldt, Julie Cardin
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Dispenser package arrangement and methods
US 20050167311 A1
Abstract
A package arrangement is described for containing multiple sheet products and dispensing the sheet products individually. The package arrangement includes three or more substrates where sheet products are sandwiched between adjacent substrates. A second side of each substrate includes an attachment zone surrounding a film pocket area. The first side of the substrate also includes a pull tab area adjacent to the substrate perimeter for grasping when peeling a substrate off of the stack.
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Claims(46)
1. A package arrangement for containing multiple sheet products and dispensing the sheet products individually, comprising:
(a) a base substrate comprising a first and second side;
(b) a first sheet product;
(c) a first substrate, including a first side, second side, and perimeter edge, the second side of the first substrate including:
(i) an outer attachment zone defined by an outer perimeter and an inner perimeter, wherein the second side of the first substrate is attached to the first side of the base substrate at the outer attachment zone;
(ii) a product pocket area within the inner perimeter of the outer attachment zone, wherein the product pocket area comprises an unattached zone that is unattached to the base substrate, and
(iii) a pull tab area adjacent to a portion of the perimeter edge of the first substrate wherein the pull tab area comprises a pull tab zone that is unattached to the base substrate;
(iv) wherein the first sheet product is positioned between the base substrate and the first substrate at the product pocket area;
(d) a second sheet product; and
(e) a second substrate, including a first side, second side, and perimeter edge, the second side of the second substrate including:
(i) a second outer attachment zone defined by an outer perimeter and an inner perimeter, wherein the second side of the second substrate is attached to the first side of the first substrate at the second outer attachment zone;
(ii) a second product pocket area within the inner perimeter of the second outer attachment zone, wherein the second product pocket area comprises an unattached zone that is unattached to the first substrate, and
(iii) a second pull tab area adjacent to a portion of the perimeter edge of the second substrate wherein the pull tab area comprises a second unattached zone that is unattached to the first substrate;
(iv) wherein the second side of the second substrate is attached to the second side of the first substrate at the outer attachment zone, wherein the second sheet product is positioned between the first substrate and second substrate at the second product pocket area.
2. A package arrangement according to claim 1 wherein at least one of the base substrate, first substrate, and second substrate comprise a thermoplastic manual;
(a) wherein the second side of the first substrate is attached to the first side of the base substrate at the outer attachment zone by a peelable bond;
(b) wherein the second side of the second substrate is attached to the first side of the first substrate at the second outer attachment zone by a peelable bond using ultrasonic vibrations.
3. A package arrangement according to claim 2 wherein the peelable bonds are formed using heat.
4. A package arrangement according to claim 2 wherein the peelable bonds are formed using ultrasonic vibrations.
5. A package arrangement according to claim 1:
(a) wherein outer attachment zone comprises an outer adhesive field;
(b) wherein the second outer attachment zone comprises a second outer adhesive field.
6. A package arrangement according to claim 5 wherein the second side of the first substrate further comprises an inner adhesive zone comprising an inner adhesive field within the first product pocket area, wherein the inner adhesive field adheres the first sheet product to the first product pocket area.
7. A package arrangement according to claim 4 wherein the first side of the first substrate is free of exposed adhesive.
8. A package arrangement according to claim 1:
(a) wherein the outer attachment zone comprises an outer cohesive field;
(b) wherein the second outer attachment zone comprises a second cohesive field;
(c) wherein the first side of the base substrate comprises a third outer cohesive field, wherein the third outer cohesive field overlaps the outer cohesive field of the second side of the first substrate; and
(d) wherein the first side of the first substrate comprises a fourth outer cohesive field, wherein the fourth outer cohesive field overlaps the third outer cohesive field of the second side of the second substrate.
9. A package arrangement according to claim 1 further comprising:
(a) a third sheet product;
(b) a third substrate, including a first side, second side, and perimeter edge, the second side of the third substrate including:
(i) a third outer attachment zone defined by an outer perimeter and an inner perimeter, wherein the second side of the third substrate is attached to the first side of the second substrate at the third outer attachment zone;
(ii) a third product pocket area within the inner perimeter of the third outer attachment zone, wherein the third product pocket area comprises an unattached zone that is unattached to the second substrate, and
(iii) a third pull tab area adjacent to a portion of the perimeter edge of the third substrate wherein the pull tab area comprises a third pull tab unattached zone that is unattached to the second substrate;
(iv) wherein the third sheet product is positioned between the second substrate and third substrate at the third product pocket area.
10. A package arrangement according to claim 1 further comprising:
(a) a base layer attached to the second side of the base substrate, the base layer comprising a perimeter portion that extends beyond the perimeter of the base substrate.
11. A package arrangement according to claim 10 wherein the base layer is more rigid than the first substrate.
12. A package arrangement according to claim 10 wherein the base layer includes an opening in the base perimeter portion.
13. A package arrangement according to claim 1 wherein the first and second substrates are flexible.
14. A package arrangement according to claim 1 wherein the first and second substrates are comprised of one of plastic, foil, and paper.
15. A package arrangement according to claim 1 wherein the sheet product pocket area of the first substrate is rectangular, wherein the first sheet product is rectangular, wherein the outer and inner perimeters of the outer adhesive zone are rectangular.
16. A package arrangement according to claim 1 wherein the first substrate is rectangular and the pull tab area of the first substrate is located along one edge of the first substrate.
17. A package arrangement according to claim 1 wherein the first substrate is rectangular and the pull tab area of the first substrate is located at a corner of the first substrate.
18. A package arrangement according to claim 1 wherein the first substrate is rectangular and the pull tab area of the first substrate is located at a corner of the first substrate, wherein the second side of the first substrate further comprises second, third, and fourth pull tab areas located at corners, wherein the second, third, and fourth pull tab areas are free of exposed adhesive.
19. A package arrangement according to claim 1 wherein the pull tab area of the first substrate is located along the entire perimeter of the first substrate.
20. A package arrangement according to claim 1 wherein the base substrate, first substrate, and second substrate are rectangular.
21. A package arrangement according to claim 1 wherein the base substrate, first substrate, and second substrate are circular.
22. A package arrangement according to claim 1 wherein the outer attachment zone of the first substrate extends inwardly from portions of the first substrate perimeter edge a distance of about one quarter inch.
23. A package arrangement according to claim 1 wherein the first substrate is larger than the second substrate and the first substrate includes an extension portion that extends beyond the perimeter of the second substrate.
24. A package arrangement according to claim 1 wherein the first and second sheet products are flat and flexible.
25. A package arrangement according to claim 26 wherein the first and second sheet products are selected from the group of soluble films, diagnostic strips, transdermal pads, and medical pads.
26. A package arrangement for containing multiple sheet products and dispensing the sheet products individually, comprising:
(a) base substrate comprising a first and second side;
(b) a first sheet product;
(c) a first substrate, including a first side, second side, and perimeter edge, the second side of the first substrate including:
(i) an outer adhesive zone defined by an outer perimeter and an inner perimeter, wherein the outer adhesive zone comprises an outer adhesive field;
(ii) a product pocket area within the inner perimeter of the outer adhesive zone, wherein the product pocket area comprises an adhesive void that is free of exposed adhesive, and
(iii) a pull tab area adjacent to a portion of the perimeter edge of the first substrate wherein the pull tab area comprises a pull tab adhesive void that is free of exposed adhesive;
(iv) wherein the second side of the first substrate is adhered to the first side of the base substrate by the outer adhesive field, wherein the first sheet product is positioned between the base substrate and the first substrate at the pocket area;
(d) a second sheet product; and
(e) a second substrate, including a first side, second side, and perimeter edge, the second side of the second substrate including:
(i) a second outer adhesive zone defined by an outer perimeter and an inner perimeter, wherein the second outer adhesive zone comprises a second outer adhesive field;
(ii) a second product pocket area within the inner perimeter of the second outer adhesive zone, wherein the second product pocket area comprises an adhesive void free of exposed adhesive, and
(iii) a second pull tab area adjacent to a portion of the perimeter edge of the second substrate wherein the pull tab area comprises a second pull tab adhesive void free of exposed adhesive;
(iv) wherein the second side of the second substrate is adhered to the second side of the first substrate by the outer adhesive field, wherein the second sheet product is positioned between the first substrate and second substrate at the second product pocket area.
27. A package arrangement according to claim 26 wherein the second side of the first substrate further comprises an inner adhesive zone comprising an inner adhesive field, wherein the inner adhesive field adheres the first sheet product to the first product pocket area, wherein the inner adhesive field is surrounded by the adhesive void area of the product pocket area.
28. A package arrangement according to claim 26 wherein the second side of the second substrate further comprises a second inner adhesive zone comprising a second inner adhesive field, wherein the second inner adhesive field adheres the second sheet product to the second product pocket area, wherein the second inner adhesive field is surrounded by the adhesive void area of the product pocket area.
29. A package arrangement according to claim 26 further comprising:
(a) a third sheet product;
(b) a third substrate, including a first side, second side, and perimeter edge, the second side of the third substrate including:
(i) a third outer adhesive zone defined by an outer perimeter and an inner perimeter, wherein the third outer adhesive zone comprises a third outer adhesive field;
(ii) a third product pocket area within the inner perimeter of the third outer adhesive zone, wherein the third product pocket area comprises an adhesive void free of exposed adhesive, and
(iii) a third pull tab area adjacent to a portion of the perimeter edge of the third substrate wherein the pull tab area comprises a third pull tab adhesive void free of exposed adhesive;
(iv) wherein the second side of the third substrate is adhered to the first side of the second substrate by the third outer adhesive field, wherein the third sheet product is positioned between the second and third substrates at the third product pocket area.
30. A package arrangement according to claim 26 wherein the first side of the first substrate is free of exposed adhesive.
31. A package arrangement according to claim 26 wherein the second side of the first substrate is coated with adhesive and the product pocket area and pull tab area of the first substrate further comprise a varnish covering the adhesive.
32. A package arrangement according to claim 26 wherein the second side of the first substrate is coated with adhesive and the product pocket area and pull tab of the first substrate area comprise a covering layer covering the adhesive.
33. A package arrangement according to claim 32 wherein the covering layer comprises a plastic film.
34. A package arrangement according to claim 32 wherein the covering layer comprises paper.
35. A package arrangement according to claim 26 wherein the outer adhesive field of the first substrate extends inwardly from portions of the first substrate perimeter edge a distance of about one quarter inch.
36. A package arrangement according to claim 26 wherein the first and second sheet products are selected from the group of soluble films, diagnostic strips, transdermal pads, and medical pads.
37. A package arrangement for containing multiple soluble films and dispensing the soluble films individually, comprising:
(a) a base substrate comprising a first and second side;
(b) a first film;
(c) a first substrate, including a first side, second side, and perimeter edge, the second side of the first substrate including:
(i) an outer adhesive zone defined by a rectangular outer perimeter and a rectangular inner perimeter, wherein the outer adhesive zone comprises an outer adhesive field;
(ii) a film pocket area within the inner perimeter of the outer adhesive zone, wherein the film pocket area comprises an adhesive void zone that is free of exposed adhesive, and
(iii) a pull tab area adjacent to a portion of the perimeter edge of the first substrate wherein the pull tab area comprises a pull tab adhesive void zone that is free of exposed adhesive;
(iv) wherein the second side of the first substrate is adhered to the first side of the base substrate by the outer adhesive field, wherein the first film is positioned between the base substrate and the first substrate at the film pocket area; and
(d) a second film;
(e) a second substrate, including a first side, second side, and perimeter edge, the second side of the second substrate including:
(i) a second outer adhesive zone defined by an outer perimeter and an inner perimeter, wherein the second outer adhesive zone comprises a second outer adhesive field;
(ii) a second film pocket area within the inner perimeter of the second outer adhesive zone, wherein the second film pocket area comprises an adhesive void free of exposed adhesive, and
(iii) a second pull tab area adjacent to a portion of the perimeter edge of the second substrate wherein the pull tab area comprises a second pull tab adhesive void free of exposed adhesive;
(iv) wherein the second side of the second substrate is adhered to the second side of the first substrate by the outer adhesive field, wherein the second film is positioned between the first substrate and second substrate at the second film pocket area; and
(f) wherein the pull tab area of the first substrate includes an extension portion that extends beyond the perimeter of the base substrate and the second pull tab area of the second substrate extends beyond the perimeter of the first substrate.
38. A method of dispensing an individual sheet product from a package that contains multiple sheet products; said method including steps of:
(a) grasping a perimeter pull tab area of a top flexible substrate on a stack of a plurality of substrates, wherein the pull tab area comprises an unattached area, wherein the substrates are attached to each other at a zone of attachment on a second side of each substrate;
(b) partially peeling the top flexible substrate off of the stack to expose a sheet product overlapping a product pocket area on the second side of the substrate, wherein the product pocket area is defined within an inner perimeter of the zone of attachment, wherein the product pocket area is not attached to the adjacent substrates; and
(c) removing the sheet product from the product pocket area.
39. The method of dispensing a sheet product of claim 38 further comprising continuing to peel the top substrate off of the stack.
40. A process of manufacturing a package arrangement for containing multiple sheet products and dispensing the sheet products individually, wherein the package arrangement is a stack of substrates with a sheet product between each pair of adjacent substrates, including:
(a) placing a sheet product onto a first side of a first substrate, wherein the first side of the first substrate includes an adhesive pattern and an adhesive void zone that is free of exposed adhesive;
(b) placing a second sheet product onto a first side of a second substrate, wherein the first side of the second substrate includes an adhesive pattern and an adhesive void zone that is free of exposed adhesive;
(c) placing a third sheet product onto a first side of a third substrate, wherein the first side of the third substrate includes an adhesive pattern and an adhesive void zone that is free of exposed adhesive;
(e) stacking the first substrate, second substrate and third substrate so that the adhesive patterns hold the stack together.
41. A process of manufacturing a package arrangement according to claim 40 further comprising:
(a) the adhesive pattern covering substantially all of the first substrate, and
(b) applying a deadening material to the first substrate, wherein the adhesive void zone is created.
42. A process of manufacturing a package arrangement according to claim 40 further wherein the adhesive is applied with screen printing techniques.
43. A process of manufacturing a package arrangement according to claim 40 wherein a static charge is applied to the first substrate to hold the sheet product.
44. A process of manufacturing a package arrangement for containing multiple sheet products and dispensing the sheet products individually, wherein the package arrangement is a stack of substrates with a sheet product between each pair of adjacent substrates, including:
(a) placing a sheet product onto a first substrate,
(b) placing a sheet product onto a second substrate,
(c) stacking the second substrate material onto the first substrate,
(d) stacking a third substrate onto the second substrate;
(d) applying a sealing platen tool to the substrate stack, wherein an attachment zone is formed that surrounds the sheet products.
45. A process of manufacturing a package arrangement according to claim 44 wherein the sealing platen tool is heated.
46. A process of manufacturing a package arrangement according to claim 44 wherein the sealing platen tool vibrates ultrasonically.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of a U.S. Provisional Application filed on Oct. 14, 2003 having Ser. No. 60/511,381, the Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/511,381 being herein incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present disclosure concerns dispenser packages for sheet products that are characterized by being flat and flexible. Examples of sheet products include films, soluble films, diagnostic strips, transdermal pads, medical pads and bandages. The packages are primarily for multiple sheet products that are dispensed individually. This disclosure particularly concerns disposable packages that increase the ease of removing only one sheet product at a time and exposing one sheet product at a time to the environment. In particular, the dispenser packages are useful for packaging a soluble film intended to be ingested by a human or animal to deliver an active ingredient, in addition to other types of sheet products.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

For many different types of sheet products, such as soluble films (for example, water-soluble films or ingestible films), diagnostic strips, transdermal pads, or bandages, the product packaging must serve many different purposes. Sheet products can be characterized by being both flat and flexible. By flat, it is meant that the major surfaces of the sheet product are essentially parallel and are distinctly greater than the minor surfaces of the sheet product. Sheet products are typically flexible, that is, capable of being flexed without breaking. Some examples of the purposes that can be served by the product packaging for sheet products include:

    • 1. securely containing and protecting the product during shipping and handling;
    • 2. dispensing the product in a manner to facilitate the removal of one sheet product at a time;
    • 3. protecting the product from undesirable effects of environment and ambient moisture;
    • 4. containing and protecting the remaining unused product against undesirable effects of the environment as individual films are dispensed and used;
    • 5. segregating the sheet products from contact with each other;
    • 6. displaying the product to the user;
    • 7. convenient fit in a pocket or purse; and
    • 8. tamper evidence and security indication.

One known technique for packaging soluble films and other sheet products is to enclose a single film within a heat-sealed pouch, for example, a foil substrate that is adhered to a transparent cover via heat sealing at the perimeter of the substrate. In one example of such a pouch, the heat-sealed area is about a quarter-inch wide, defining an interior receiving area that is about 7/8 inch by 2¼ inches. The film is sandwiched between the substrate and the cover in the interior receiving area. Numerous heat sealed pouches are provided in a sheet with perforations separating the individual pouches.

Another example of packaging for a soluble film is the packaging used for oral care or breath freshening films, such as the “Cool Mint Listerine PocketPaks” product available from Warner-Lambert Consumer Health Care, Morris Plains, N.J. The product packaging for this product involves a cardboard or paperboard slipcover (about 3 and 5/8 inches by about 3 inches) having enclosed therein and removable therefrom, another cardboard or paperboard piece (about 3 and 3/8 inches by about 2 and 15/16 inches) having a blister pack attached thereto. After the second piece is removed from the slipcover, it is torn open by removal of a panel (about 1 and 5/16 inches by about 1 and 7/8 inches) in the cardboard or paperboard packing. Underneath the removable panel, a barrier film or metallized sheet is encountered which, once torn open or removed, allows access to the inside of the blister pack. Contained within the blister pack is a plastic dispenser (about 1 and 1/8 inches by about 1 and 7/8 inches) that can be removed. The remainder of the package is discarded. The dispenser has a hinged panel selectively opened (and reclosed) with a tab, that allows access to internally received oral care strips.

Another possible package arrangement for soluble films is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,726,054, entitled DISPENSER PACKAGE ARRANGEMENTS AND METHODS, filed Mar. 29, 2002 and issued Apr. 27, 2004. This dispenser includes a receptacle and a peelable and resealable backing construction for enclosing a stack of films. The backing construction includes an openable and reclosable hinge cover portion formed by die cuts through the flexible backing construction.

Improvements are desired in the packaging arrangements used with many sheet products including soluble films, such as facilitation of the removal of the sheet products one at a time and increased protection of individual sheet products from the undesirable effects of exposure to the environment.

SUMMARY

A package arrangement is provided for enclosing multiple sheet products and dispensing the sheet products individually. Each sheet product is sandwiched between two substrates that are attached together, in a stack of alternating substrates and sheet products. In a preferred arrangement, each substrate, except the base substrate, has an outer attachment zone at which it is attached to the neighboring substrate. The attachment to the neighboring substrate may be accomplished in a number of different ways. For example, the attachment zone may include an adhesive field that adheres the substrate to the neighboring substrate. Alternatively, the substrates may be attached to each other at the attachment zone using a heat seal, an ultrasonic bond, or cohesive. Other attachment techniques are also possible.

The attachment zone encloses a product pocket area, where the product pocket area is not attached to the neighboring substrate. The sheet product piece overlaps a portion of the product pocket area, so that it is contained between the substrate and the neighboring substrate. The substrate also includes a pull tab area adjacent to a portion of the perimeter edge of the substrate. The pull tab area is not attached to the neighboring substrate, so that the substrate can be easily grasped at the pull tab area to pull off the substrate.

Examples of substrate materials that may be used include papers, films, foils, coated papers, coated foils, other packaging material, or combinations of these materials. The substrate may be rectangular, square, circular, or many other shapes.

The package arrangement may also include a base layer attached to the base substrate, where a perimeter portion of the base layer preferably extends beyond the perimeter of the substrates. Preferably the base layer is also more rigid than the substrate. The base layer may be made of polyester, another poly material, cardboard, polystyrene, or polypropylene, to name just a few examples. The base layer preferably includes an opening in a base perimeter portion that extends beyond the perimeter of the substrates. This opening may be used to hang the packaging arrangement for display at a store.

The pull tab area is sized to allow a user to grip the pull tab area to peel off a substrate. The pull tab area may be located in a corner of the substrate, along one side of the substrate, in all corners of the substrate, around the entire perimeter of the substrate, or along a portion of one side of the substrate, among other locations. The pull tab area provides a location for a user to grip the substrate when peeling it off of the package.

In the particular example where an adhesive field is used to attach the substrates to each other at the attachment zone in the stack of substrates, the product pocket area and pull tab area are free of exposed adhesive. The product pocket area and pull tab area may be created by using pattern coating techniques to form the adhesive zone or by using deadening coverings to cover adhesive in the product pocket area and the pull tab area. The deadening cover layer may be a plastic film or paper.

In the particular example where a heat seal or ultrasonic bonding seal is used to attach the substrates to each other at the attachment zone, the product pocket area and pull tab area are not attached to neighboring substrates because the heat or ultrasonic vibrations are not applied to the substrates in these areas. Instead, the heat or ultrasonic vibrations are applied only to the attachment zone of each substrate using a platen to apply the heat or vibration.

The package arrangement may further include an inner adhesive zone defined within an inner perimeter of the product pocket area. This inner adhesive zone holds each product to the product pocket area on the substrate. The inner adhesive zone is more likely to be used where the attachment zone includes an adhesive field.

A method of dispensing a sheet product from a package includes the steps of grasping a perimeter pull tab area of a first flexible substrate on a stack of a plurality of substrates, wherein the pull tab area is not attached to the neighboring substrate. Substrates are attached to each other at an attachment zone on a first side of each substrate. The method further includes a step of partially peeling the first flexible substrate off of the stack to expose a sheet product within a product pocket area on a first side of the substrate. The product pocket area is not attached to the neighboring substrate. Finally, the method of dispensing a sheet product includes the step of removing the sheet product from the product pocket area.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention may be more completely understood by considering the detailed description of various embodiments of the invention that follows in connection with the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a sheet product package according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a top view of a first side of a substrate of the sheet product package of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a top view of a second side of the substrate of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a top perspective view of a film that may be packaged in the film package of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a top view of an alternate packaging arrangement of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a top view of an alternate packaging arrangement of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a conceptual drawing of a manufacturing process using heat or ultrasonic sealing techniques.

FIG. 8 is a top view of a heat or ultrasonic sealing platen.

FIG. 9 is a top view of a die shape used to cut out packaging arrangements from a web.

FIG. 10 is a top view of an alternate sheet product package of the present invention.

FIG. 11 is a cross sectional view of the sheet product package of FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 is a cross sectional view of yet another alternate package of the present invention.

FIG. 13 is a top view of an alternative carded sheet product package of the present invention.

FIG. 14 is a cross sectional view of the package of FIG. 13.

FIG. 15 is a cross sectional view of an alternate carded film package of the present invention.

FIG. 16 is a top view of an alternate film package of the present invention.

FIG. 17 is a top view of a first side of a substrate of the film package of FIG. 11.

FIG. 18 is a top view of an alternate carded film package of the present invention.

FIG. 19 is a cross sectional view of the film package of FIG. 18.

FIG. 20 is a top view of an alternate film package of the present invention.

FIG. 21 is a cross sectional view of the film package of FIG. 20.

FIG. 22 is a top view of yet another alternate film package of the present invention.

FIG. 23 is a cross sectional view of the film package of FIG. 22.

FIG. 24 is a top view of an alternate carded film package of the present invention.

FIG. 25 is a cross sectional view of the film package of FIG. 19.

FIG. 26 is a top view of yet another alternate film package of the present invention.

FIG. 27 is a bottom view of an alternate film package.

FIG. 28 is a cross-sectional view of the film package of FIG. 27.

FIG. 29 is a top view of the substrate components of the film package of FIG. 22.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

I. General Features of Preferred Packaging Arrangements

In general, the present disclosure concerns a package arrangement for storing, handling, and dispensing sheet products. Packaging for such materials is arranged to facilitate the removal of one sheet product at a time and to provide protection from undesired effects of exposing the sheet products to the environment.

The package arrangement is particularly useful for sheet products, characterized by the fact that the sheet products are relatively flat and flexible. The sheet products typically have two major surfaces that are essentially parallel and are distinctly greater than the minor surfaces of the sheet product. Sheet products are also generally capable of being flexed without breaking. Examples of sheet products that are suitable for use with the packaging arrangement include soluble films (for example, water-soluble films and edible films), diagnostic strips (for example pH indicator strips and pregnancy test strips), transdermal pads, medical pads, and bandages. The packaging arrangement may be used for many other types of sheet products. The packaging arrangement is particularly useful for providing storage and organization of multiple elements where access to one sheet product at a time is desired. The packaging arrangement also provides the advantage of preventing contact between sheet products and may provide a moisture barrier from the environment. Often, sheet products used with the packaging arrangement will have a thickness of not more than 1/8 inch. Preferably, the sheet products used with the packaging arrangement will have a thickness of not more than 1/16 inch.

The package arrangement is suitable for use with sheet products having many different sizes. Often, soluble films such as ingestible films are sized to fit comfortably within the mouth and are used with dimensions of less than about 3 inches by 2 inches, preferably about 2 inches by 1 inch. The size of the packaging for edible films depends on the size of the film that is contained, but is often a “pocket/purse size”, i.e., a size that can be conveniently fit in a pocket, purse, or similar space. Typically and preferably such arrangements have a size of no larger than about 4 inches by 6 inches, and a depth of no greater than about 1 inch. A typical preferred size is no greater than about 2 inches by about 2.75 inches. More preferably the depth of the packaging is no greater than about 0.40 inches.

Often, diagnostic strips such as pH indicator strips or pregnancy indicator strips will have dimensions of less than about one inch by about one to two inches, for example, about 1/8 inch by about 1.25 inch. Packaging arrangements for these types of sheet products will be sized to allow an area around the sheet product that will be free of bonding between the substrates and allow for a sufficient attachment zone surrounding the sheet product. Typically, the substrates for a packaging arrangement for diagnostic strips will be about one inch or less by two inches or less.

The packaging arrangement may be used with medical dressings, pads, or bandages. These types of products vary greatly in dimension and, by way of one example, may have a length of about two to three inches and a width of about two to three inches. The packaging arrangements for these types of sheet products will be slightly larger than the dimensions of the sheet product in order to allow for the attachment zone and an area around the perimeter of the sheet product where there is no attachment between the substrates.

The package arrangement seals each sheet product individually between two substrates in a stack of substrate layers. The substrate material is chosen to be a flexible material that allows peeling one substrate off of the stack, and that is capable of being attached to neighboring substrates. Examples of possible substrate materials include paper, foil, plastic, coated paper, coated foil, other packaging materials, or combinations of these materials. In one preferred application, the material chosen for the packaging is such as to provide proper protection of the internally received products from the effects of the environment with respect to shelf life, for example by providing a low amount of moisture vapor transmission.

Each substrate within the packaging arrangement is attached to a neighboring substrate at an attachment zone on one side of the substrate. The attachment to the neighboring substrate at the attachment zone may be accomplished by using adhesive, cold adhesive, heat sealing, or ultrasonic bonding, in addition to other attachment methods.

In many applications, preferably a tamper evident sealing is provided, for example where for packages for soluble films intended to be ingested. The packaging can be enclosed within a heat-sealed pouch, vial, clamshell, blister pack, or other structure that provides a tamper evident enclosure around the entire packaging arrangement. The substrate may also be constructed to reveal if there has been any tampering by providing a visual indicator if a substrate is peeled back and then replaced on the stack. For example, after a substrate is peeled away, text or a symbol may be visible on the substrate to indicate to a user that substrate has been previously peeled away. It may also be desirable to incorporate security features into the substrate, to provide information about the manufacturer, and to enable authentication of the package. Where heat sealing, ultrasonic bonding, or cohesive bonding is used to attach the substrates, it is typically not possible to reseal the attachment zone, providing an automatic indication that a sheet product pocket area has been accessed.

In the drawings, described in detail below, packaging arrangements are shown that each accomplish many or all of the above preferred features. It is noted that unless specifically otherwise characterized, there is no requirement that all of the advantageous features feasible with the techniques described herein must be implemented in all products constructed in accord with the general principles provided herein.

II. Various Preferred Package Arrangements

FIGS. 1-4 show views of one preferred packaging arrangement 10, including a stack of substrates 12. The packaging arrangement 10 is illustrated as containing a soluble film by way of example. The packaging arrangement 10 of FIGS. 1-4 may also contain other sheet products, but the drawings will be discussed in relation to the example where multiple soluble films are held within the packaging arrangement 10. A film is sandwiched between each pair of substrates. In FIG. 1, the top substrate 16 of the stack is being peeled off to reveal the top film 18. A small inner adhesive area 20 connects the top film 18 to the top substrate 16. This adhesive area 20 holds the films in place on the substrates during manufacturing. In addition, the adhesive area 20 lifts the film off of the next substrate in the stack while the substrate layer is being peeled off during dispensing, so that the user can more easily grasp the film. Alternatively, the package arrangement may be provided without the adhesive area 20.

Each substrate in the stack of substrates 12 includes a first side and a second side having an attachment zone at which it is secured to the rest of the stack before the substrate is peeled off of the stack. The top substrate 16 of FIG. 1 has a second side 22 that is exposed as the top substrate is peeled off of the stack, and a first side 24. The substrate 16 includes an attachment zone 26 on its second side where it is joined to the rest of the stack. The attachment zone 26 may be established by providing an adhesive or cohesive field within the attachment zone 26, or by heat sealing or ultrasonically bonding the attachment zone 26 to the next substrate on the stack. Where an adhesive is used to attach the substrates, the attachment zone 26 is an adhesive zone. The attachment zone 26 surrounds an inner pocket area 28 or film pocket area where the film 18 is positioned. The attachment zone 26 provides a seal around the perimeter 30 of the film 18. Preferably the attachment zone 26 seals around the entire perimeter of the film 18. In the inner pocket area 28 the substrates are not attached to each other and there is substantially no exposed adhesive or a reduced amount of exposed adhesive to facilitate removal of the film from the package. The inner pocket area 28 surrounds the small adhesive area 20 to hold the film 18 in place. The outer perimeter of the adhesive area 20 is the inner perimeter of the inner pocket area 28.

In one embodiment, the first side 24 of the top substrate 16 is free of adhesive before assembly into the package. Likewise, the next substrate 34 in the stack of substrates 12 has a first side 36 that is free of adhesive, as do the remainder of the substrates. FIG. 3 is a top view of a first side of a substrate 16. The first side of the top substrate 16 is the top of the film package. The first side of the next substrate 34 is adhered to the second side of the top substrate 16 via the attachment zone 26 on the top substrate.

The second side 22 of the substrate 16, shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, includes a second unattached area 38 or peel tab area adjacent to the substrate perimeter 40 to allow a user to grasp the substrate 16 in order to peel it off of the stack of substrates 12. By adjacent, it is meant that a portion of the boundary of the second unattached area 38 is shared with the perimeter of the substrate 40. The second unattached area 38 is along an edge of the substrate. In the second unattached area 38 there is a lack of exposed adhesive or a reduced amount of adhesive to facilitate grasping and peeling. The second unattached area 38 may alternatively be located in many other places on the substrate. For example, the second unattached area 38 could be located at one or more corners of the substrate 16, or along the entire perimeter of the substrate 16. Alternatively, the second unattached area 38 could be located along a different single edge or portion of an edge of the substrate 16. In a preferred embodiment, at least a portion of the second unattached area is at one of the corners 39, 41, 43, 45 of the substrate.

The substrate 16 is generally flexible and may possibly be transparent. The top view of the packaging arrangement 10 shown in FIG. 2 shows the film 18 beneath a transparent top substrate 16, for easier explanation of the structure of the package. However, transparent substrates are not preferred in some cases because they allow more light to interact with the soluble films. The top substrate 16 has been described in some detail, and it should be understood that the stack of substrates 12 includes additional substrates with the same construction as the top substrate 16. For convenience, the top substrate 16 will be described interchangeably with the remainder of the substrates.

In one example, the substrate 16 is generally rectangular, which is a shape well-suited for packaging a rectangular film 18. One manner in which the substrate 16 differs from being perfectly rectangular is that the corners are rounded. Herein, however, even when rounded corners for the substrate 16 as shown in FIG. 2 are present, the shape will be generally characterized as “rectangular.” Alternatively, the substrate of the package could be many other shapes such as circular, oval, square, triangular, or more irregular shapes such as in the shape of an outline of a dinosaur, for example, for a children's film product. These alternative shapes will also have an adhesive zone that surrounds an inner adhesive void area or pocket area where the film is positioned. In addition, these other shapes will also have a second unattached area near the perimeter of the substrate to allow a user to grasp the substrate for peeling it off of the stack. Some alternative configurations are discussed later herein.

In embodiments where adhesive is used to attach the substrates, the substrate will generally comprise a strong flexible film having one side at least partially coated with an adhesive. Where the substrate is completely or substantially completely coated with an adhesive, then the adhesive void areas for holding the film and facilitating peeling of the substrates may be created by deadening the adhesive in these areas. A food grade varnish or a deadening substrate may be applied to the adhesive void areas to cover the adhesive. Examples of deadening substrates are plastic film or paper. Alternatively, the adhesive can be selectively applied to the substrate to form just the adhesive zone instead of completely covering the first side of the substrate, leaving the adhesive void areas without adhesive or with reduced adhesive. A pattern coating technique can be used to apply the adhesive. Any one or a combination of these methods for providing an adhesive zone along with the desired adhesive void areas can be used on a substrate.

The adhesive on the substrate may be pattern coated using screen printing techniques to provide a reduced amount of adhesive in the adhesive zone near the perimeter of the substrate. This reduction in adhesive can facilitate die-cutting of the substrates with reduced gumming of the machines, and reduced adhesive ooze from the perimeter of the package. Similarly, the area where the inner adhesive void or film pocket area meets the adhesive zone, a gradual transition between one level of concentration of adhesive and a second reduced concentration of adhesive in the inner adhesive void area may be provided. An outer perimeter reduced adhesive construction is described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,730,396 to Maloney, titled ADHESIVE CONSTRUCTIONS; AND, METHODS, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

Many different materials may be used for the substrate. Depending on the type of film that is stored within the package, the moisture vapor transfer rate (MVTR) of the chosen substrate may be important to help protect the films from the effects of the environment and moisture. The following materials may be used as a substrate, where each material has approximately the MVTR listed next to each material, in addition to coated paper, metallized paper and film, poly foil, coated polyester, other packaging materials, and combinations of these materials:

Material MVTR Rating
Vinyl 50
Label-Lyte (Polyolefin) Material 50
Polyethylene 30
Polyester, Polypropylene 20
Foil 0-5

The following ASTM documents describe testing methods for determining the MVTR of a material:

    • E-96 Test Methods for Water Vapor Transmission of Materials
    • F-17 Terminology Relating to Flexible Barrier Materials
    • F-372 Test Method for Water Vapor Transmission Rate of Flexible Barrier Materials Using an Infrared Detection Technique
    • F-1249 Test Method for Water Vapor Transmission Rate Through Plastic Film and Sheeting Using a Modulated Infrared Sensor
    • F-1770 Test Method for Evaluation of Solubility, Diffusivity, and Permeability of Flexible Barrier Materials to Water Vapor
    • C-677 Practice for Use of a Polyethylene Terephthalate Reference Film for the Measurement of the Time-Averaged Vapor Pressure in a Controlled Humidity Space
    • E398-03 Standard Test Method for Water Vapor Transmission Rate of Sheet Materials Using Dynamic Relative Humidity Measurement

Metallization of a material may reduce the MVTR by about ten. In addition, adding pigments to clear films may increase the MVTR because the pigment molecule is generally larger than the film molecules, so that the material becomes more porous.

A metal foil is a likely substrate because of its low MVTR rating. MVTR requirements for the substrate will vary from sheet product to sheet product that is contained in the dispenser. In one embodiment of the invention, the substrate has an MVTR of 75 or less. In alternative embodiments of the invention the substrate has an MVTR of 50 or less, 30 or less, 20 or less, 10 or less, or 5 or less.

Where adhesive will be used to attach the substrates to each other, typically the material for the substrate may be purchased from a supplier of films, i.e., possibly as a film having adhesive already provided thereon. However, pattern coating of the desired adhesive zone on a commercially available substrate is also an option, and may be preferable because this approach could reduce the deposit of adhesive on the machinery used in manufacturing. Usable materials include, for example: HL-8005-X from H.B. Fuller Company, St. Paul, Minn. However, any other adhesive that is a direct or indirect food grade material can be used with soluble films that are intended to be ingested. The adhesive may be a pressure sensitive adhesive, a heat-activated adhesive, a UV-activated adhesive, or another type of adhesive.

In one embodiment described herein, a coating of adhesive is provided to the second side of a substrate at the attachment zone, so that the coated second side of the substrate adheres to the neighboring substrate. In an alternative arrangement, both sides of each substrate are coated at the attachment zone with a cohesive or a cold seal adhesive. Surfaces coated with cohesive or cold seal adhesives will only adhere to other surfaces coated with the same adhesive. When the two surfaces are brought together, they will adhere thereby establishing the attachment between neighboring substrates. Cohesive and cold seal adhesives typically provide less moisture barrier protection than other types of adhesives.

It may be preferable for a resealable adhesive to be used, so that portions of the substrate that have been stripped away from the stack of substrates 12 can be reclosed, if desired. On the other hand, it may be desirable for the substrate to incorporate security and authentication features. For example, after a substrate is peeled away, text or a symbol may be visible on the substrate to indicate to a user that substrate has been previously peeled away.

In one particular example, alternatively, a security and identification device may be incorporated into the substrate that resonates at several radio frequencies, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,581,257, which is incorporated herein by reference, owned by Gordian Holding Corporation. In another alternative, cut quartz crystals may be used in a radio frequency automatic identification system as described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,891,240, 5,291,205, and 5,204,681, which are hereby incorporated herein by reference. The radio frequency identification devices described in these patents may be useful to verify that a package of soluble films came from a particular manufacturer. Further, the security device can be arranged to change the frequencies at which it resonates if the substrate has been peeled back, enhancing the detection of tampering.

Preferably, where adhesive is used to attach the substrates to each other, the attachment zone 26 includes exposed adhesive coating on the first side 22, which is the side facing the remainder of the stack, facing away from the top side 42 of the packaging arrangement 10, to secure the substrate 16 to the next substrate 34. The term “exposed” in this context is meant to refer to a portion of the adhesive field that directly contacts, and thus provides adherence to, another substrate. This would be by contrast to an “adhesive void” area of adhesive, as described above, which either has no adhesive, has adhesive that is permanently covered up by some material and thus is prevented from contacting certain structures, or has a reduced amount of adhesive.

The packaging arrangement 10 may be provided in many different sizes. For edible film applications, the package has dimensions of less than about 6 inches by 6 inches, preferably less than 4 inches by 3 inches, more preferably less than about 3 inches by 2 inches. The embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1 has dimensions of about 2 and 3/4 inches by 1 and 7/8 inches. The attachment zone 26 extends inward from the perimeter 40 of the substrate by about a 1/4 inch on the two sides of the substrate 44, 46. On the bottom end 48 of the substrate, the attachment zone extends about ⅜ of an inch inward from the perimeter 40 of the substrate 16. On the top end 50 of the substrate, the attachment zone 26 extends about 1/4 inch from the second unattached area 38 to the inner pocket area 28. These dimensions merely provide an example of one workable structure for a film package. The dimensions of the attachment zone 26 are sufficient to maintain enough of a seal around the inner pocket area 28 to contain the film 18. Preferably, the attachment zone 26 surrounds the inner pocket area 28 around its entire perimeter.

A film 18 is shown in FIG. 4 including an adhesive area 20 positioned approximately centrally on a first side 52 of the film 18. The adhesive area is useful during the manufacturing process to hold the film 18 onto a substrate. In addition, the adhesive area is useful to lift the film 18 off of the lower substrate when a user is peeling the substrate 16. The adhesive area 20 prevents the film 18 from accidentally falling or blowing away. Alternatively, adhesive area 20 can be located at other locations on the first side of the film, as long as it holds the film 18 on the substrate 16. Examples of adhesive that could be used for the adhesive area 20 include any food grade adhesive such as those mentioned above for the adhesive zone. The adhesive area 20 may not be necessary to include in the packaging arrangement. For example, adhesive area 20 would not be necessary where the sheet products have sufficient weight to remain on the substrate where they are placed.

Alternative methods may be used to retain very lightweight sheet products, such as soluble films, on the substrate during the manufacturing process of the packaging arrangement. For example, a static charge may be applied to the substrate at the placement location of each sheet product to retain the sheet product on the substrate.

The substrate 16 may include printed information on its first side 22 or its second side 24. Examples of information that may be printed on the substrate include a production lot number, the type of drug film contained with the package, or other information for the uses of the product or for tracking purposes. The substrate may also include a tamper evident indicator to reveal to the user whether a substrate has been peeled back previously.

It is anticipated that the packaging arrangement 10 may be placed within another container, such as a heat-sealed pouch, another type of pouch, vial, clamshell or other enclosure for providing it to the user. This secondary container may include a tamper evident indicator.

The number of films and substrates in a packaging arrangement 10 depends on the application for the package. The package could be constructed with many different numbers of substrates and films, such as 10, 12, 20, 24, or 50. As the number of substrates and films increase, the packaging arrangement 10 may be more bulky in the area of the inner adhesive void.

When a user wishes to obtain a film 18 from the packaging arrangement 10, the user grasps the top substrate 16 at the second unattached area, or peel tab, 38. The user pulls the substrate 16 away from the stack of substrates 12 and in the process uncovers the film 18. The user then grasps the film 18 and removes it from the area adjacent to the inner pocket area 28. A product pocket 54 is defined between the inner pocket area 28 of the top substrate 16 and the second side 36 of the second substrate 34.

The user then continues to remove the top substrate 16 completely from the stack of substrates 12. Alternatively, the user may completely remove the top substrate 16 before grasping the film 18. After the film is removed, the top substrate 16 may be discarded and the remaining stack of substrates 12 includes a top substrate with a second side exposed without any adhesive on the second side.

FIGS. 5 and 6 show alternate packaging arrangements that are particularly suited for accommodating different types of sheet products. Much of the structure of the packaging arrangement shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 is similar to the packaging arrangement 10 shown in FIGS. 1-3. Accordingly, similar reference numbers will be used for similar parts. FIG. 5 shows a packaging arrangement 10′ designed to accommodate a sheet product 19 such as a transdermal pad, medical dressing, or bandage. The packaging arrangement 10′ includes a stack of substrates 12′ where the top substrate 16′ covers the top sheet product 19. Each substrate 16′ includes an attachment zone 26′ that attaches it to the rest of the substrate stack. The attachment zone 26′ surrounds an inner pocket area 28′ where the sheet product 19 is positioned. The attachment zone 26′ provides a seal around the perimeter 30′ of the sheet product 19. Preferably, the attachment zone 26′ seals around the entire perimeter of the film. The inner pocket area 28 does not include any exposed adhesive. Within the inner pocket area 28′, a perimeter 29 is defined around the sheet product 19′, where the perimeter area 29 is not attached to the neighboring substrate.

FIG. 6 illustrates a packaging arrangement 10″ for containing a diagnostic strip 21. The packaging arrangement 10″ includes a stack of substrates 12″ where a top substrate 16″ covers the top sheet product 21. The substrate 16″ includes an attachment zone 26″ where it is joined to the rest of the stack. The attachment zone 26″ may be established by providing a cohesive or adhesive field within the attachment zone, or by heat sealing or ultrasonically bonding the attachment zone 26″ to the next substrate on the stack. The attachment zone 26″ provides a seal around the perimeter of the sheet product 19.

The package for soluble films may be manufactured using many different techniques and types of equipment. First, a specific example of a process for manufacturing a package with twelve soluble films will be described where the attachment between substrates is by adhesive. A first subassembly step is to cut a sheet of soluble films to the proper width by slitting a web of soluble film material to the desired width off line. In another subassembly step, the substrate is printed with any desired text or information and adhesive is pattern coated onto the substrate. Then the twelve pre-slit rolls of soluble film are introduced into the press. Next, each roll of the soluble films is die cut to form films of the desired length. The soluble films are dispensed onto the pattern-coated substrates. The web is run past a part detect system that is tied in with a system that will reject any packages that have missing parts.

Typically the films are dispensed onto the side of the substrate that contains the pattern-coated adhesive. The films are placed in an adhesive void zone that does not have that have exposed adhesive. The adhesive void zone is surrounded by the adhesive zone. It is also possible for the films to be dispensed on the opposite side of the substrate from the adhesive.

Next, the substrate with the soluble film attached is trimmed to the desired width. Spreader rollers are then used to stack twelve lanes on top of each other. As a safety measure, the web is run past a metal detector that is tied in with a system that will reject any packages having any metal detected therein. The result is a web of parts, where each part is a stack of twelve stacked layers of soluble film alternating with substrate layers. These parts are die cut to the final outside dimensions of the package and the waste matrix is stripped.

FIG. 7 provides a simplified illustration of some of the steps of another manufacturing method for a packaging arrangement where the attachment between the substrates is accomplished by a heat seal or an ultrasonic bond. The sections 700, 710, 720 and 730 of the web 704 shown in FIG. 7 show simplified views of different isolated stages of the manufacturing process. In one example of such a process, sheet product pieces 702 to be packaged are placed on a web of substrate 704 in one section 700 of the web 704. The web of substrate 704 may be wide enough to be used to create multiple packages across its width to provide efficiencies in manufacturing. In the example illustrated in FIG. 7, four sheet product pieces 702 are positioned across the width of the substrate web 704. In this example, the web is about ten inches wide. Many different web widths and numbers of sheet product pieces across the width of the web are possible.

The web 704 travels in direction 703 during the manufacturing process. Where the sheet product pieces are very lightweight, it can be useful to have some mechanism for securing the product pieces to the web so that the pieces do not move. As discussed above, one such mechanism is to provide an adhesive area that secures each sheet product to the web. Alternative methods may be used to retain very lightweight sheet products, such as soluble films, on the substrate during the manufacturing process of the packaging arrangement. For example, a static charge may be applied to the substrate at the placement location of each sheet product to retain the sheet product on the substrate. Where the sheet products have sufficient weight that it is not a problem for the sheet product pieces to remain on the substrate where they are placed, an adhesive area or a static charge is not necessary.

Once individual sheet product pieces 702 are evenly spaced on the substrate 704, a second layer of the substrate (not shown) can be positioned on top of the bottom substrate 704 to sandwich the sheet product pieces 702 between the two substrates, creating a layered web 712. Then, a heat-sealing platen tool can be pressed against the layered web 712 shown in section 710 of FIG. 7. One example of the top view of a sealing platen tool 800 is shown in FIG. 8. The sealing platen 800 can be brought against the layered web 712 from the bottom to press the layered web 712 against a plate, in order to apply heat and pressure to the layered web. As a result, a component of the substrate melts and bonds with the adjacent substrate, resulting in an attachment area 714 around each of the sheet product pieces 702. The platen 800 includes individual platens 802 that form the individual attachment zones 714 around each individual product piece. The platen 800 may be brought into contact with the substrate stack 712 from the top of the substrate or the bottom of the substrate and provide pressure against a plate on the opposite side of the layered web. Alternatively, two platens can contact the stack from either side of the substrate stack.

The platen can be brought into contact with the layered substrate 712 after each additional substrate and film is provided on top of the previous stack. Alternatively, the platen can be brought into contact with the layered substrate 712 only after multiple layers of substrate and sheet product have been stacked, where the heat and pressure can be applied to multiple layers of substrate effectively to form the attachment areas. The platen may be applied after two, three, four, or even more substrates and sheet products are stacked.

After the substrate stack 712 has been brought into contact with the platen 800 to provide individual attachment zones 714 around a stack of the desired number of sheet product pieces 702, the outside perimeter 724 of the packaging arrangement 726 may be cut to separate the package from the substrate web 712. The shape of a die cut tool 900 is illustrated in FIG. 9. Section 720 of FIG. 7 illustrates that the perimeters 724 of each of the packaging arrangements 726 are determined and correspond to the die shape 900. Each packaging arrangement 726 includes a pull tab area 728. Section 730 of FIG. 7 illustrates the waste matrix 734 of the web that remains after the packaging arrangements 726 are removed from the web.

During a heat sealing process, the platen is used to apply both heat and pressure to the substrate stack during assembly. It is also important to allow the platen to dwell for a period of time upon the substrate in order to allow the heat sealing process to occur. The temperature of the platen will vary depending on the material that is used for the substrate. For common substrate materials, the temperature of the platen will range from about 275 degrees Fahrenheit to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of the platen will be chosen to be sufficient to heat the substrate material to its melting point without singeing or burning the substrate material.

In an ultrasonic sealing manufacturing process, the platen 800 applies vibratory mechanical pressure at ultrasonic frequencies in order to develop localized heat to seal the adjacent substrates to one another. The platen, or horn, applies the vibration to the sandwiched substrate, trapping it against a stationary anvil. Where heat sealing or ultrasonic bonding are used to form the attachment zones, the substrate will include a thermoplastic material that will melt to form the bond when the pressure and heat or vibration is applied to the web. A heat seal or ultrasonic bond between substrate layers can be characterized as a peelable bond that allows one substrate to be peeled off the other substrate without damaging either substrate. These types of bonds typically do not permit reattachment after the substrates have been separated. One example of the composition of a substrate includes the following 5 layers of material:

    • 1. polyethylene teraphalate (PET), such as 48 Gauge PET;
    • 2. coextruded low density polyethylene (LDPE) and EAA, such as 11# White LDPE and EAA to facilitate printing;
    • 3. foil, such as 35 Gauge foil, which decreases the moisture vapor transfer rate of the overall substrate;
    • 4. coextruded EAA, such as 11#; and
    • 5. coextruded HDPE and EVA film, for example, with a thickness of 2.0 mil, which melts to form the bond with the adjacent substrate.
      Many different substrate compositions may be used when forming a heat seal or ultrasonic bond.

After the packages are cut, they may be inserted into a pre-printed pouch. Information is then printed on the pouch, such as some combination of the day, product code, lot, or other information related to the soluble film contained within the package. Each pouch is then heat-sealed. After the pouches are heat sealed, they are cut (i.e., “sheeted”) to length so that the final product consists of a package of 12 films enclosed in a pouch. The resulting pouches are then collected and inspected.

FIGS. 10-29 show many different alternate packaging arrangements for dispensing sheet products. These packaging arrangements are described as including adhesive areas and being used to contain film products. However, each of the alternatives described in FIGS. 10-29 can also be constructed using alternate attachment methods, such as heat sealing or ultrasonic bonding. In addition, the arrangements in FIGS. 10-29 may be used to contain and dispense sheet products other than films.

FIGS. 10-12 show an alternate package 60 for dispensing films. Package 60 is similar to packaging arrangement 10 of FIGS. 1-4 in many ways, except that the substrates 62 of package 60 have a peel area 64 along the entire perimeter 66 of the package 60. The substrate 62 includes a first side including an adhesive zone 68. The first side of the substrate 62 is facing away from the viewer in FIG. 10. However, the first side 70 is shown in the cross-sectional views of FIGS. 11 and 12. The adhesive zone 68 includes two side sections 72, 74 and a top and bottom section 76, 78. The second side 80 of the substrate 62 faces the viewer in FIG. 10. The second side of the substrate does not have any adhesive.

An additional feature of the first side 70 of the substrate 62 is the inner adhesive void 84. The inner adhesive void 84 contacts the film 86. Between the inner adhesive void 84 and the second side of the next substrate, a film pocket is created. The film pocket is defined at its perimeter by the inner perimeter 86 of the adhesive zone 68.

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 10, the package 60 includes transparent substrates 62. Accordingly, the film 86, peel area 64, adhesive zone 68, and inner adhesive void 84 are visible through the top transparent substrate 62. An adhesive area 88 is also present on the first side 70 of the top substrate 62 to hold the film 86 in place on the substrate 62.

FIG. 11 is a conceptual cross-sectional view of the package 60 including top substrate 62, adhesive area 88, sides 72, 74 of adhesive zone 68, film 86, a stack of substrates 90, and a bottom substrate 92.

FIG. 12 is a view of an alternate version of package 94 containing 24 film doses instead of 12 doses. However, the components of the packages shown in FIG. 11 and FIG. 12 are identical except for the number of substrates and films. Accordingly, identical reference numbers are used for the components of package 60 and package 94.

FIG. 12 illustrates a top substrate 62 being peeled from a stack 90 of substrates in the package 94. The peel area 64 extending around the entire perimeter of the package 60 may make it easier for a consumer to find the peel area.

The alternative substrate materials, substrate shapes, film shapes, peel tab shapes and inner adhesive void shapes that were discussed above are also applicable for package 60. The techniques and alternative techniques for creating the adhesive zones and adhesive void areas that were discussed above with relation to FIGS. 1-4 are also applicable for FIGS. 10-12.

FIGS. 13 and 14 show an alternate carded package 100 for dispensing films. The carded package 100 includes a card or base 102 that supports the film package 60. The film package 60 is illustrated in more detail in FIGS. 10-11. The film package 60 is held onto the base 102 by an adhesive holding layer 104, shown in FIG. 14. The base 100 includes a hole 106 that may be used to hang or display the package 100.

FIG. 15 shows an alternate package 110 that is identical to package 100 of FIGS. 13-14, except that it contains 24 films using 25 substrate layers.

A typical usable layer for base 102 is a 5-50 mil piece of cardboard, paper board, styrene, or plastic material. More preferably, the base 102 is about 10-30 mil thick.

FIG. 16 shows an alternate construction for a film package 130 where the peel areas are located at each corner of the substrates. FIG. 16 shows a top view of a package 130 with transparent substrates so that the peel areas, inner adhesive void, and adhesive zone are visible through the transparent top substrates 132. FIG. 17 shows a top view of a first side 134 of the top substrate 132 including four peel areas 135, 136, 137, 138 at each corner of the substrate 132. An adhesive zone 140 defines a frame around an inner adhesive void 142. The film 144 is situated on the inner adhesive void in FIG. 16.

FIG. 18 shows a carded film package 150 including the film package 130 situated on a base 152. The base 152 includes a hole 154 for hanging the package 150.

FIG. 19 is a conceptual side view of the carded package 150 including the base 152 and an adhesive layer 156 for securing the film package 130 to the base 152. The carded package 150 includes multiple substrates 132 and multiple films 154. The adhesive zone 140 is not illustrated in FIG. 19.

FIGS. 20 and 21 illustrate an alternate film package 170 with a circular configuration. Package 170 is well suited for dispensing circular films 172. Each film 172 is sandwiched between two substrates 173, similar to the other packages described herein. Each substrate 173 includes an adhesive zone 170 defined on a first side 175. A second side 176 of the substrate 173 does not include adhesive. The second side 176 of the top substrate 173 forms a top 178 of the package 170.

The first side 175 of the substrate 173 includes an adhesive zone 174 that creates a film pocket for holding the film 172. The inner perimeter 180 of the adhesive zone 174 is the outer perimeter of the inner adhesive void 172 and the film pocket. The film pocket is created between the inner adhesive void 182 and the neighboring substrate. An adhesive void 182 defines a peel tab for removing the substrate from the stack 186.

FIGS. 22 and 23 show an alternate circular package 200 containing a circular film 172. The substrate 202 of package 200 includes an adhesive zone 204 that does not extend all the way to the perimeter 206 of the substrate 202. An adhesive void area 208 or pull tab area is defined around the perimeter 206 of the substrate to allow the user to grasp the substrate when peeling off a top substrate 202. An adhesive area 220 may also be provided.

FIGS. 24 and 25 illustrate a carded package 250 including a base 252 and the package 200 shown in FIGS. 22 and 23. The base 252 includes a hole 254. Adhesive layer 256 is used to join package 200 to base 252.

FIG. 26 illustrates a top view of an alternate embodiment of a film package 270 where the film 272 is shaped like a dinosaur and the shape of the film pocket area 274 corresponds to the shape of the film. A pull tab area 276 and an adhesive zone 278 are included. The package includes a base card 280 with an opening 282. Films with this type of shape or other fanciful shapes may be useful for parents with children who need to receive an active ingredient in the form of a soluble film, such as medication or a vitamin supplement.

FIGS. 27-29 show an alternate package 300 for dispensing film 301 where the substrates vary in size to facilitate grasping of the pull tab area. In some respects, package 300 is similar to package 10, such as the shape of the adhesive zone. However, in package 300 the pull tab area has a rounded shape, and changes in size on different substrates. The pull tab areas of the substrates of the package are progressively smaller as the layers are consumed, moving toward the bottom of the package. This configuration makes it easier to get one layer at a time and to count how many sheets are left. The bottom substrate 302 includes an adhesive zone 302 and a pull tab area 304. The bottom substrate 302 may be adhered to a card or base 305, shown in FIG. 28. The next substrate 306 includes an adhesive zone 308 and an inner adhesive area 310. The pull tab area 312 of the next substrate is larger than the bottom substrate 302, resulting in an extension portion 314 that extends beyond the bottom substrate 302. Each substrate other than the bottom substrate has an extension portion that extends beyond the area occupied by the adjacent substrate that closer to the bottom substrate 302. The top substrate 318 also has a peel area 320 and an extension area 322. This shingled configuration has varying pull tab areas to facilitate removal of the substrates and films.

The alternative substrate materials, substrate shapes, film shapes, peel tab shapes, film pocket area shapes, and other alternative features that were described above with respect to some of the embodiments shown in the drawings may also be applied to the other embodiments shown in the other drawings. For example, the techniques for creating adhesive zones and adhesive void areas that were discussed above with relation to FIGS. 1 through 4 are also applicable to the embodiments shown in FIGS. 10 through 29.

The above specification provides a complete description of the manufacture and use of the invention. Since many embodiments of the invention can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, the invention resides in the claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7381053 *Apr 8, 2005Jun 3, 2008American Orthodontics CorporationPackaging system for pre-pasted orthodontic bracket
US8028837 *Dec 18, 2008Oct 4, 2011Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.Break-open package with shaped die cut for storing and dispensing substrates
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/449, 206/455, 206/494
International ClassificationB65D83/08
Cooperative ClassificationB65D83/08
European ClassificationB65D83/08
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 24, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: THE TAPEMARK COMPANY, MINNESOTA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:TONSFELDT, BRAD;CARDIN, JULIE;REEL/FRAME:016391/0032
Effective date: 20050317