Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20050173439 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/991,949
Publication dateAug 11, 2005
Filing dateNov 18, 2004
Priority dateNov 21, 2003
Also published asCA2488076A1, CA2488076C
Publication number10991949, 991949, US 2005/0173439 A1, US 2005/173439 A1, US 20050173439 A1, US 20050173439A1, US 2005173439 A1, US 2005173439A1, US-A1-20050173439, US-A1-2005173439, US2005/0173439A1, US2005/173439A1, US20050173439 A1, US20050173439A1, US2005173439 A1, US2005173439A1
InventorsShu-Ling Chen
Original AssigneeShu-Ling Chen
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Combined storage apparatus
US 20050173439 A1
Abstract
A combined storage apparatus (10) includes a storage bag (12) and a storage box (14). The base (20) of the storage bag (12) is gusseted and forms an extended flat surface which is attached to a stiff board (32). The board (32) has straps (40A, 40B) with buckles (42) which are adjustable to pull taut against the storage bag (12). After the storage bag (12) has been sealed by fastener tracks (28A, 28B) and evacuated of air through a one-way valve (30), the straps (40A, 40B) are pulled taut against the storage bag (12) and the buckles (42) secured. The adjustable straps (40A, 40B), the buckles (42), and the board (32) serve as a mechanical restraint to assist in retaining the storage bag (12) in a collapsed state. The storage bag (12) and the board (32) are sized to fit within the storage box (14). The board (32) also is folded in a manner to create two sidewalls (32A, 32B) which provides rigidity to permit multiple storage apparatuses (10) to be stacked.
Images(6)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(25)
1. A storage apparatus comprising:
(a) a bag having a wall which forms a boundary between an interior and an exterior, and an opening communicating therebetween through which an article to be stored may be inserted;
(b) a reclosable fastener located proximate the package opening and configurable in an open position and a closed position;
(c) a one-way air valve which communicates between the interior and the exterior to evacuate air from the interior of the bag and causes the wall to collapse about the article; and
(d) a mechanical restraint which is used to retain the wall in a collapsed state.
2. The storage apparatus of claim 1 wherein the mechanical restraint includes:
(a) a strap; and
(b) a member of sufficient rigidity such that the bag may be retained in the collapsed state between the member and the strap.
3. The storage apparatus of claim 2 wherein the strap is adjustable and pulled taut against the bag.
4. The storage apparatus of claim 3 wherein the strap includes a buckle to secure the strap in a taut state.
5. The storage apparatus of claim 2 wherein the member is a board.
6. The storage apparatus of claim 1 wherein the one-way air valve is adapted to be connected to a vacuum cleaner in order to evacuate air from the interior of the bag.
7. The storage apparatus of claim 1 wherein the fastener includes first and second fastener tracks which mate in an interlocked position when the reclosable fastener is in the closed position and which are unlocked when the fastener is in the open position.
8. The storage apparatus of claim 7 wherein the first and second fastener tracks are plastic zipper profiles.
9. The storage apparatus of claim 8 further including a slider which straddles the plastic zipper profiles and which facilitates the interlocking of the profiles when the slider is urged to travel along the profiles.
10. The storage apparatus of claim 1 wherein the wall includes a base, a left side, a right side, and a top, and the base is gusseted.
11. The storage apparatus of claim 1 wherein the wall includes a base, a left side, a right side, and a top, the opening being located at the top and the storage apparatus further including a fold between the top and the bottom such that bag may be folded along the fold when the bag is in the collapsed state.
12. The storage apparatus of claim 2 wherein the wall includes a base, a left side, a right side, and a top, the opening being located at the top and the base being attached to the member.
13. A storage apparatus comprising:
(a) a bag having a wall which forms a boundary between an interior and an exterior, and an opening communicating therebetween through which an article to be stored may be inserted;
(b) a reclosable fastener located proximate the package opening and configurable in an open position and a closed position;
(c) a one-way air valve which communicates between the interior and the exterior to evacuate air from the interior of the bag and causes the wall to collapse about the article;
(d) a mechanical restraint which is used to retain the wall in a collapsed state; and
(e) a container which is sized to receive the bag and the mechanical restraint.
14. The storage apparatus of claim 13 wherein the mechanical restraint includes:
(a) a strap; and
(b) a member of sufficient rigidity such that the bag may be retained in the collapsed state between the member and the strap.
15. The storage apparatus of claim 14 wherein the strap is adjustable and pulled taut against the bag.
16. The storage apparatus of claim 15 wherein the strap includes a buckle to secure the strap in a taut state.
17. The storage apparatus of claim 14 wherein the member is a board.
18. The storage apparatus of claim 13 wherein the one-way air valve is adapted to be connected to a vacuum cleaner in order to evacuate air from the interior of the bag.
19. The storage apparatus of claim 13 wherein the fastener includes first and second fastener tracks which mate in an interlocked position when the reclosable fastener is in the closed position and which are unlocked when the fastener is in the open position.
20. The storage apparatus of claim 19 wherein the first and second fastener tracks are plastic zipper profiles.
21. The storage apparatus of claim 20 further including a slider which straddles the plastic zipper profiles and which facilitates the interlocking of the profiles when the slider is urged to travel along the profiles.
22. The storage apparatus of claim 14 wherein the wall includes a base, a left side, a right side, and a top, the opening being located at the top and the base being attached to the member.
23. The storage apparatus of claim 22 wherein the base is gusseted and wherein the wall further includes a fold between the top and the bottom such that bag may be folded along the fold when the bag is in the collapsed state and the bag and the member are received within the container.
24. The storage apparatus of claim 23 wherein the container has a lid which closes with the bag and the member contained therein.
25. A storage apparatus comprising:
(a) a bag having a wall which forms a boundary between an interior and an exterior, and an opening communicating therebetween through which an article to be stored may be inserted;
(b) a reclosable fastener located proximate the package opening and configurable in an open position and a closed position;
(c) a one-way air valve which communicates between the interior and the exterior to evacuate air from the interior of the bag and causes the wall to collapse about the article; and
(d) a container which is sized to receive the bag and the mechanical restraint, the container having sidewalls which are of sufficient rigidity to permit stacking of multiple storage apparatuses.
Description

This patent application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 10/756,262; 10/758,259; and 10/853,243.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

(a) Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to combined storage apparatuses, more particularly to a combined storage apparatus wherein a storage bag is provided with a gussetted flat bottom surface which is attached to a stiff board. An article is stored in the storage bag, and the storage bag is evacuated of air and then placed in a storage box.

(b) Description of the Prior Art

The storage bags of the prior art for storing blankets, clothes, or other articles comprise a bag body that can be sealed and evacuated of air, so that the volume of the bags and their contents can be significantly reduced for saving space. The storage bags of the prior art are, however, of irregular shapes and it is difficult to stack up many storage bags. It is further disadvantageous that the bags and their contents may expand while in storage due to possible infiltration of the air.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a combined storage apparatus comprising a storage bag and a storage box. Typically, articles such as bedding, clothing, or other contents are placed through an opening in the storage bag and fastener strips are then used to seal the storage bag. A one-way valve is then used to evacuate air from the storage bag and the volume of the bag and its contents is reduced as the wall of the bag is collapsed against the contents contained therein. A base of the storage bag forms a gusseted flat surface and is attached to a stiff board. The stiff board is provided with adjustable straps and buckles which may be pulled taut against the storage bag to retain the storage bag in a collapsed state. The board, straps, and buckles serve as a mechanical restraint to prevent the bag and its contents from expansion in the event the bag is punctured or air infiltrates through a fastener strip which is accidentally opened or not completely closed. The storage bag and the board are sized to fit within the storage box.

An additional aspect of the invention is that when the storage bag is received within the storage box, lateral sections of the stiff board are folded upward to form two sidewalls. When the storage bag is placed into the storage box, the sidewalls add resilience. Since the combined storage apparatus is boxy and of resilient structure, a plurality of them can be stacked up so as to save storage or placement space.

The various objects and advantages of the present invention will be more readily understood from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a combined storage apparatus according to the present invention wherein the storage bag and the storage box are separated.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a combined storage apparatus according to the present invention wherein the bottom board of the storage bag is folded to form two sidewalls.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a combined storage apparatus according to the present invention wherein the storage bag is housed in the storage box.

FIG. 4 illustrates the sealing of the opening of the storage bag by pulling a zipper thereof.

FIG. 5 is a lateral cross-sectional view of the present invention illustrating the air in the storage bag being extracted.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the present invention wherein the storage bag is enclosed in the storage box.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIG. 1, a combined storage apparatus 10 of the present invention comprises a storage bag 12 and a storage box 14. The depiction of FIG. 1 shows the combined storage apparatus 10 disassembled such that there is no article (such as blankets, clothes, or the like) contained therein for storage and the storage bag 12 and the storage box 14 are separated. The storage bag 12 includes a flexible wall 16 which forms a boundary between an interior and an exterior of the storage bag 12, and an opening 18 which communicates therebetween through which an article to be stored may be inserted. The wall 16 further includes a base 20, a left side 22, a right side 24 which opposes the left side 22, and a top 26. As should be apparent from the figures, the opening 18 is located at the top 26 of the storage bag 12 and the base 20 opposes the top 26 and terminates in a horizontal flat or gusseted surface.

A fastener 28 located proximate the opening 18 includes a first fastener track 28A and a second fastener track 28B which are capable of mating in an interlocked position when the fastener 28 is in the closed position and which are unlocked when the fastener 28 is in the open position, such as shown in FIG. 1. As also shown in the figures, the fastener 28 is a plastic zipper and the tracks 28A and 28B are plastic zipper profiles.

The storage bag 12 further includes a one-way valve 30 located on the wall 16 which communicates from the interior of the storage bag 12 to the exterior of the storage bag 12, and serves as a passageway through which air may be evacuated from the storage bag 12. The one-way valve 30 may be adapted to be attached to a vacuum cleaner or other vacuum-creating means. An example of a one-way storage valve is described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,480,030 and 5,931,189, and both of these patents are incorporated herein by reference. A second example of a one-way storage valve is described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,116,781 and 6,357,915, and both of these patents are incorporated herein by reference. As should be understood, when the fastener 28 is in the closed position and air is evacuated through the one-way air valve 30 from the interior of the storage bag 12 to the exterior, the wall 16 of the storage bag 12 collapses about any article contained within.

As noted above, the base 20 of the storage bag 12 terminates in a flat or horizontal surface or gusset. The base 20 of the storage bag 12 is mounted to a stiff board 32, which is a member of sufficient rigidity for the use described below. The board 32 includes a top surface 34, a bottom surface 36, and a periphery 38. The top surface 34 of the board 32 is adhered or mounted to the exterior of the storage bag 12 at the base 20. As shown in FIG. 2, two sections on opposite sides of the board 32 may be folded upward to form two sidewalls 32A and 32B. The board 32 has two straps 40A and 40B which are attached across the bottom surface 36 of the board 32 and are in generally parallel arrangement relative to each other. The straps 40A and 40B each extend beyond the periphery 38 and each end of the straps terminate in a buckle half. The buckle halves on each of the straps 40A and 40B snap together to form a complete buckle assembly 42. The straps 40A or 40B are each adjustable within the buckle such that the straps may be pulled about the storage bag 12 and pulled tight. The combination of the board 32, the straps 40A and 40B, and the buckle assemblies 42 collectively are used as a mechanical restraint to capture the storage bag 12 within, when the storage bag 12 is in the collapsed state.

The storage box 14 further includes a box body 44 and an upper flap 46 for closing the box body 44. The box body 44 can house the storage bag 12 after the storage bag 12 is folded inasmuch as the periphery 38 of the board 32 (to which the storage bag 12 is attached) is sized to be received within the box body 44 when the sidewalls 32A and 32B are folded upwards. The box body 44 is further provided with two handles 46 on two short sides thereof and a window 48 made of transparent material on one long side thereof. Additionally, the upper flap 46 may be secured to the box body 44 by use of a metal or plastic toothed zipper 50.

In use of the combined storage apparatus 10 of the present invention, an article, such as bedding or clothing, is inserted through the opening 18 of the storage bag 12. The storage bag 12 is then sealed by mating the first fastener track 28A with the second fastener track 28B in an interlocked position. To facilitate the sealing of the bag, a slider 52 (as seen in FIG. 4) which straddles the fastener tracks 28A and 28B may be used to facilitate the interlocking when the slider 52 is urged to travel along the profiles by the user. When the sealing of the storage bag 12 is complete, air is evacuated through the one-way valve 30 by attachment of a vacuum cleaner or the like, and the wall 16 of the storage bag 12 collapses or shrinks about the article contained therein. As shown in FIG. 2, the sidewalls 32A and 32B of the board 32 are folded upward and the storage bag 12, the article contained within the storage bag 12, and the board 32, are then received within the storage box 14. The storage bag 12 may then be folded or otherwise manipulated to fit within the storage box 14. The storage bag 12 may have a pre-formed fold or folds to facilitate the fitting of the storage bag 12 within the storage box 14. The storage bag 12 is bound by connecting the straps 40A and 40B at the buckle assemblies 42 and the straps 40A and 40B are adjusted to be pulled taut against the board 32. As best shown in FIG. 5, the strap 40A, the strap 40B, the buckle assemblies 42, and the board 32 collectively operate as a mechanical restraint which is used to retain the wall 16 of the storage bag 12 in the collapsed state, and the board 32 should be of sufficient rigidity such that the storage bag 12 may be retained in the collapsed state between the board 32 and the straps 40A and 40B. The operation of the board 32, the straps 40A and 40B, and the buckle 42 acting as a mechanical restraint prevents the storage bag 12 and its contents from expansion in the event the bag is punctured or air infiltrates through a fastener strip which is accidentally opened or not completely closed.

As shown in FIG. 6, the collapsed storage bag 12 as attached to the board 32 may then be closed within the storage box 14 by closing the upper flap 46 and fastening the toothed zipper 50. Since the combined storage apparatus 10 is generally boxy in configuration, it is easy to stack up multiple units, thereby saving storage space. The sidewalls 32A and 32B of the board 32 reinforce the strength and toughness of the storage box 14 after the storage bag 12 is placed into the storage box 14. Therefore, the storage box 14 can sustain stress due to stacking up for an extended time without deformation.

As should be understand, modification of certain aspects of the combined storage apparatus 10 are considered within the scope of the present invention. For example, the aforesaid straps 40A and 40B and the buckles 42 used in association with the stiff board 32 caouldbe binding ribbons or buckle belt as shown in the figures, for preventing expansion of stored articles due to air leakage into the storage bag 12. It likewise provides an equivalent effect that the straps 40A and 40B be oriented on the two long sides of the peripher 38 instead. Different representations of the fasteners 28 and one-way valve 30 are possible.

The present invention is thus described, and it will be obvious that the same may be varied in many ways. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the present invention, and all such modifications as would be obvious to one skilled in the art are intended to be included within the scope of the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7475782Apr 26, 2006Jan 13, 2009Lombardi James SContainer for controlling odor and scent incident upon a hunter's clothing stored prior to hunting
US8066433Mar 14, 2008Nov 29, 2011Pro-Mart Industries, Inc.Valve for vacuum storage bag
US8210353 *Aug 12, 2009Jul 3, 2012Cie Europe S.A.S.Vacuum storage slipcover and storage and/or transport bag integrating such a slipcover
US20110024475 *Jul 30, 2010Feb 3, 2011David BrungardCompressible backpack
US20110094925 *Dec 31, 2010Apr 28, 2011Piazza John AEnvironmentally friendly textile soft goods retail packaging incorporating vacuum-sealable bags reusable by consumers
US20110094926 *Dec 31, 2010Apr 28, 2011Piazza John AEnvironmentally friendly textile soft goods retail packaging incorporating vacuum-sealable bags reusable by consumers
US20110094932 *Dec 31, 2010Apr 28, 2011Piazza John AEnvironmentally friendly textile soft goods retail packaging incorporating vacuum-sealable bags reusable by consumers
US20110094933 *Dec 31, 2010Apr 28, 2011Piazza John AEnvironmentally friendly textile soft goods retail packaging incorporating vacuum-sealable bags reusable by consumers
US20110266188 *Dec 8, 2010Nov 3, 2011Illinois Tool Works Inc.Form fill seal packaging method and apparatus for compressible goods
US20110278289 *Apr 29, 2009Nov 17, 2011Zhengbing ShiStorage box
US20110317944 *Jun 28, 2011Dec 29, 2011Liu Chun-ChiBacking plate for storage bags as well as storage bag and storage box with the same
US20120181210 *Jan 11, 2010Jul 19, 2012Zhengbing ShiVacuum packing bag
WO2009042133A1 *Sep 24, 2008Apr 2, 2009Illinois Tool WorksTote bag with inner resealable evacuable flexible bag
Classifications
U.S. Classification220/495.06
International ClassificationB65D30/24, B65D33/02, B65D25/14, B65D30/10, B65D35/14, B65D85/18, B65D77/04, A45F4/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65D81/2038, B65D81/2023, B65D77/06, B65D85/16
European ClassificationB65D81/20B2, B65D85/16, B65D81/20B3, B65D77/06
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 6, 2012ASAssignment
Owner name: S.C. JOHNSON & SON, INC., WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS INC.;REEL/FRAME:028908/0596
Effective date: 20120817
Jun 1, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: HWA MEIR INTERNATIONAL CO. LTD., TAIWAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:CHEN, SHU-LING;REEL/FRAME:016081/0433
Effective date: 20050407