US 20050173286 A1
A composite package structure having a paperboard cover and thermoformable inner tray is provided with a cut-out in the cover that exposes the transparent tray underneath, making the article inside and any graphics on it visible from the exterior. The package includes a spine so that it can fold like a book. The tray is provided with a pair of notches that provide relief from the stretching of the paperboard at the ends of the spine when the package is closed. The polymeric tray is preferably not glued or attached to the paperboard cover in the location of the spine so that the spine may buckle.
1. A composite package for containing articles comprising:
an at least partially transparent thermoformable polymeric tray having first and second sides, said first side of said tray including a plurality of article holding means; and
a paperboard cover attached to said second side of said polymeric tray, said cover defining at least one cut-out, said cut-out exposing a portion of said second side of said tray to expose at least a portion of an article contained in said tray.
2. The package of
3. The package of
4. The package of
5. The package of
6. The package of
7. The package of
8. The package of
9. The package of
10. The package of
11. The package of
12. A book-like package for containing articles comprising:
a paperboard cover having a peripheral edge;
a thermoformable polymeric tray including a first side, a second side, and a flexible spine, said first side of said tray including an article holding means for holding an article when said package is closed, said second side attached to said paperboard cover, said flexible spine allowing said package to close like a book, said spine not extending to said peripheral edge of said paperboard.
13. The package of
14. The book-like package of
15. The book-like package of
16. The book-like package of
17. The package of
18. The package of
19. The package of
20. The package of
21. The package of
22. A book-like package for containing articles comprising:
a paperboard cover;
a polymeric tray having a spine means for closing the book-like package, a first side including a plurality of article holding means, and a second side rigidly attached to said paperboard cover by a conventional adhesive, said adhesive not applied to said flexible spine such that said spine may buckle when the package is closed.
23. The book-like package of
24. The book-like package of
25. The book-like package of
26. The book-like package of
27. The book-like package of
28. The book-like package of
29. The book-like package of
30. A foldable display package comprising:
a paperboard cover defining at least one void;
a molded plastic tray having a peripheral flange and a flexible spine, said flange forming a peripheral wall, said tray not extending completely to said wall, said wall defining at least one recess, said flexible spine allowing said package to fold like a book such that said recess is capable of holding an article when said package is closed; and
a hinge means on said spine allowing said spine to buckle when said package is closed.
This invention relates to packaging, and more particularly to paperboard and plastic composite package structures that combine an intricate thermoformed tray with a paperboard base or cover.
It is known in the field of composite package structures to make use of a thermoformed inner tray with a paperboard base or cover. Such structures of this type, generally, provide a lightweight package with a good printing surface on the outside of the package. An example of such structures is U.S. Pat. No. 5,775,512 ('512) to Jones, entitled “Composite Package Structure for Containing Articles and Method for Producing Thereof.” The '512 patent teaches a paperboard cover, a plastic inner tray, and a flexible spine that allows the package to be folded like a book. The tray is made of a polymer that can be thermoformed to hold a variety of articles such as compact discs, DVD's, and various children's toys. The paperboard cover functions as a base to provide structure for the polymer tray, and also provides a surface for the addition of printable graphics.
It is often the case that the article to be contained within the package also contains one or more surfaces that include printable graphics. Compact discs, for example, generally have a printed surface with a listing of the track titles or a selection of artwork, and children's books with colorfully illustrated covers often come with additional accessories that require additional packaging. Due to the nature of the composite package structure, particularly the paperboard cover, the articles and any graphics printed on the actual articles are often not seen by a consumer until the product has been purchased and the package has been opened. The exterior surface of the paperboard provides a location to print graphics that will indicate the nature of the products inside, but often this simply results in the same images being printed twice, both on the paperboard cover and the actual article.
A number of structural problems also exist in the typical composite package design. Particularly, binding and tearing often occur in the area of the flexible spine when the packages are repeatedly opened and closed. This is due to the dual layering of paperboard and polymer, because the paperboard is forced to stretch around the inner polymer tray in the area of the spine when the package is closed. The '512 patent teaches that the paperboard should be adhered to the polymer tray in the location of the spine to provide strength and structure for the package. While it is true that some added strength will result from this, it also causes the paperboard and polymer to pull against each other and often prevents the package from closing properly, especially after numerous repetitions of opening and closing. U.S. Pat. No. 4,724,957 to Burcshweiger shows an extra radius in the paperboard in the area of the spine, such that the paperboard will not be stretched over the polymer when the package is closed. This design may eliminate the tearing and binding problems, but loses some of the structure that the composite package design was intended to provide, along with making a more cumbersome package.
The aforementioned problems are overcome by the present invention wherein a composite package structure is provided with a cut-out in the paperboard cover that exposes the transparent polymeric tray underneath, making the article inside and any graphics on it visible from the exterior. In addition, the package is provided with a number of alterations to the typical spine design that prevent the package from tearing or binding when closed without giving up structure or visual appeal.
In the preferred embodiment, the package is a book-like package having a paperboard cover and a thermoformable polymeric tray. The base is thermoformed to provide one or more recesses to receive an article. One or more cut-outs are provided in the paperboard cover, corresponding with the locations of the article recess in the polymeric tray. The tray is preferably a transparent polymer, such that the article may be seen through the cut-out and the tray when the package is closed.
In another preferred embodiment, a pair of notches in the polymeric tray are provided at opposing ends of the spine. The notches are cut from the tray only, so that the paperboard cover extends beyond the polymeric tray at the ends of the spine. The notches provide relief from the stretching of the paperboard at the ends of the spine, the most common location for tears to initiate. The visual appearance of the package is not altered because the paperboard cover hides the notches, and minimal structure is lost because only a small portion of the polymer is removed.
In another preferred embodiment, the polymeric tray is not glued or attached to the paperboard cover in any manner in the location of the spine. This allows the tray to buckle slightly at the spine in relation to the paperboard, so that the paperboard does not have to stretch as far around the polymer while allowing the package to close without binding.
The present design therefore provides a number of advantages. First, it allows a viewer to see a product and any graphics on the product while it is still in the package. Second, it maintains a paperboard cover for structural support and as an additional location for including graphics. Third, it reduces binding and tearing of the paperboard cover while maintaining structural and aesthetic qualities.
These and other objects, advantages, and features of the invention will be readily understood and appreciated by reference to the detailed description of the preferred embodiment and the drawings.
A composite package for containing and displaying articles is shown in
The paperboard cover 12 is generally made from a cardboard material or the like, and preferably cut into a rectangular shape or another shape that can be folded like a book. Shown in
In a preferred embodiment, the cover 12 further includes at least one cut-out 22. The cut-out 22 is generally located substantially between the score lines 40 and one of the lateral edges 36 or 38. The shape of the cut-out 22 is generally designed to match the shape of an article that will be held and displayed in the package 10, but may be any desired shape and may be large enough to reveal more than one article. An additional cut-out (not shown) can be defined in the spine region to permit viewing of the article through the spine.
The tray 14 is preferably constructed of a polymer such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Barex®, copolyester, or any other plastic material that can be thermoformed to create a tray shaped to match the article of interest (not shown). The polymer is preferably at least partially transparent (i.e. transparent or translucent). Shown in
The spine 24 is preferably a pair of parallel hinges 46 in the tray 14. The location of the spine 24 preferably corresponds with the location of the score lines 40 in the cover 12. As shown in
The paperboard cover 12 and polymeric tray 14 are attached with a conventional adhesive. In a preferred embodiment, the adhesive is an RF seal wherein heat is applied through the polymeric tray 14. The adhesive may be applied in any location where the tray 14 and the cover 12 are in contact, but it is preferably applied between the cover 12 and the peripheral flange 50. In another preferred embodiment the adhesive is not applied to the area of the flexible spine 24.
In operation, an article, for instance a computer cartridge (not shown), or plurality of articles, is placed into one or more of the article holding recesses 20 when the package 10 is in the open position as in
The above description is that of a preferred embodiment of the invention. Various alterations and changes can be made without departing from the spirit and broader aspects of the invention as defined in the appended claims, which are to be interpreted in accordance with the principles of patent law including the doctrine of equivalents. Any reference to claim elements in the singular, for example, using the articles “a,” “an,” “the” or “said,” is not to be construed as limiting the element to the singular.