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Publication numberUS20050184136 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/057,561
Publication dateAug 25, 2005
Filing dateFeb 14, 2005
Priority dateFeb 24, 2004
Publication number057561, 11057561, US 2005/0184136 A1, US 2005/184136 A1, US 20050184136 A1, US 20050184136A1, US 2005184136 A1, US 2005184136A1, US-A1-20050184136, US-A1-2005184136, US2005/0184136A1, US2005/184136A1, US20050184136 A1, US20050184136A1, US2005184136 A1, US2005184136A1
InventorsJames Baynum
Original AssigneeFort James Corporation
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Adjustable portion cup with invertible sidewall panel
US 20050184136 A1
Abstract
An adjustable portion cup includes a bottom and a sidewall defining a scooped perimeter about the upper aperture of the cup. The sidewall is provided with an invertible sidewall panel which defines, in part, the contained volume of the cup in a first position and is operative to reinforce the opposite portion of the sidewall in a second position. The invertible panel is configured so that when displaced from a first position to a second position, it is detached from a lower portion of the sidewall to which it is joined and is in contact with an opposing portion of the cup sidewall, whereby the contained volume of the cup is reduced and the opposing portion of the cup sidewall is reinforced.
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Claims(20)
1. An adjustable portion cup comprising a bottom and a sidewall with a scooped perimeter about an upper aperture of the cup,
a) the sidewall being provided with an invertible sidewall panel which defines, in part, the contained volume of the cup in a first position and is operative to reinforce an opposite portion of the sidewall in a second position,
b) the invertible sidewall panel in the first position being contiguous to and joined with a lower portion of the cup sidewall such that it defines, in part, the contained volume of the cup,
c) the invertible sidewall panel being further provided with a scooped upper edge which defines the scooped portion of the perimeter of the cup about its upper aperture, when the invertible panel is in the first position, and
d) the invertible panel being configured so that when displaced from the first position to the second position it is detached from the lower portion of the sidewall with which it was joined and is in contact with an opposing portion of the cup sidewall,
whereby the contained volume of the cup is reduced and the opposing portion of the cup sidewall is reinforced, the cup being characterized by an overall height, H, an invertible panel breadth, B, a scoop height, S, and a lower sidewall portion height, S′.
2. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 1, wherein the invertible panel is crescent-shaped.
3. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 2, wherein the cup has a circular cross-section.
4. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 3, wherein the cup has a taper of from about 2° to 10°.
5. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 4, wherein the cup has a taper of from about 3° to 7°.
6. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 1, wherein the ratio of the invertible panel breadth to be overall height of the cup, B/H, is from about 0.15 to about 0.35.
7. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 1, wherein the ratio of the scoop height to the overall height of the cup, S/H, is from about 0.4 to about 0.8.
8. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 1, wherein the ratio of the lower sidewall portion height to the overall height of the cup is from about 0.25 to about 0.55.
9. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 1, wherein the sidewall of the invertible cup is perforate scored at the lower edge of the invertible panel.
10. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 1, wherein the sidewall of the cup is scored at the lateral edges of the invertible panel.
11. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 1, wherein the sidewall of the cup is formed from paperboard having a basis weight of from about 140 lbs to about 220 lbs per 3000 square foot ream.
12. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 11, wherein the sidewall is made from a paperboard polymer film laminate.
13. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 1, wherein the polymer film is a polyethylene film.
14. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 11, wherein the paperboard cups are provided with foamed polymer insulation on their outer surfaces.
15. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 14, wherein the foamed insulation on the outer surface of the cups is formed in-situ by action of moisture present in the paperboard with polymer film applied to the paperboard.
16. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 14, wherein the foamed polymer insulation is syntactic foam.
17. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 14, wherein there is further provided an unfoamed film layer of the cup.
18. The adjustable portion cup according to claim 1, wherein the cup has a frustoconical volume of from about 20 to about 50 fluid ounces.
19. An adjustable portion cup comprising a bottom and a sidewall with a scooped perimeter about an upper aperture of the cup,
a) the sidewall being of frustoconical shape with a circular cross section and further being provided with an invertible sidewall panel which defines, in part, the contained volume of the cup in a first position and is operative to reinforce an opposite portion of the sidewall in a second position,
b) the invertible sidewall panel in the first position being contiguous to and joined with a lower portion of the cup sidewall such that it defines, in part, the contained volume of the cup,
c) the invertible sidewall panel being further provided with a scooped upper edge which defines the scooped portion of the perimeter of the cup about its upper aperture, when the invertible panel is in the first position, and
d) the invertible sidewall panel being configured so that when displaced from the first position to the second position it is detached from the lower portion of the sidewall with which it was joined and is in contact with an opposing portion of the cup sidewall,
whereby the contained volume of the cup is reduced and the opposing portion of the cup sidewall is reinforced, the cup being characterized by an overall height, H, an invertible panel breadth, B, a scoop height, S, and a lower sidewall portion height, S′ and wherein the cup is characterized by the following ratios: B/H is from about 0.15 to about 0.35; S/H is from about 0.4 to about 0.8; and S′/H is from about 0.25 to about 0.55
20. An adjustable portion cup comprising a bottom and a sidewall with a scooped perimeter about an upper aperture of the cup,
a) the sidewall comprising a paperboard laminate with a polymer film being provided with an integrally formed, crescent shaped invertible panel which defines, in part, the contained volume of the cup in a first position and is operative to reinforce an opposite portion of the sidewall in a second position,
b) the invertible sidewall panel in the first position being contiguous to and joined with a lower portion of the cup sidewall such that it defines, in part, the contained volume of the cup,
c) the invertible sidewall panel being further provided with a scooped upper edge which defines the scooped portion of the perimeter of the cup about its upper aperture, when the invertible panel is in the first position, and
d) the invertible sidewall panel being configured so that when displaced from the first position to the second position it is detached from the lower portion of the sidewall with which it was joined and is in contact with an opposing portion of the cup sidewall,
whereby the contained volume of the cup is reduced and the opposing portion of the cup sidewall is reinforced.
Description
CLAIMS FOR PRIORITY

This non-provisional application claims the benefit of the filing date of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/547,237, of the same title, filed Feb. 24, 2004.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to disposable containers for french fries and the like, and more specifically, to a disposable, adjustable portion cup with an invertible panel which is operable to adjust the volume of the cup as well as reinforce the opposite sidewall.

BACKGROUND ART

Disposable containers are well known. There is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,592,504 to Sarson et al. a disposable cup with a spill resistant lid, the lid is integrally formed with a truncated conical body of a cup and is moveable between a raised position and closed position, possibly also in a semi-closed position. See also U.S. Pat. No. 6,176,420.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,394,338 to Sluder discloses a convertible container for food and a condiment. The container is made from a single piece blank and is convertible between a single compartment container and a multiple compartment container. The container of the '338 patent is characterized by having a rear panel defining a lateral slit and a front panel perforated and scored to define a converting flap hinged to the front panel along a lateral fold line. The container may be converted into a multiple compartment container by separating the converting flap from the front panel along the perforation, folding the converting flap along the lateral fold line, positioning the convertible flap between the front panel and the rear panel to be received through a slit. The upper compartment and lower compartment thus are separated by the converting flap.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,182,890 to Sattler et al. discloses a collapsible disposable food container including a main body which is selectably adjustable between an open position and a flat closed position. The container is constructed from a unitary piece of flat stock material folded to define front, back, side and bottom walls. The container includes a main body having a bottom portion which is shaped substantially as a truncated cone. The container may be configured to have a separate compartment for a condiment. Note FIG. 8 and Column 9, lines 18+.

Of more general interest there is seen in U.S. Pat. No. 6,053,403 to Cai a conical food scoop; in U.S. Pat. No. 5,775,570 to Kim a food container adaptable for holding a drink cup; in U.S. Pat. No. 4,711,389 to Alba et al. a self-supporting and spill resistant food carton; and in U.S. Pat. No. 3,324,998 to Farquhar a container and blanks for making them.

Despite many innovations in the disposable container field, there remains a need for adjustable portion cups which are readily stacked and stored. The present invention reduces the need for inventory by providing for sturdy containers of different volume.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The present invention provides a cup that allows an end user to have two or more food carrying containers simply by displacing an invertible sidewall panel from one position to the other. The cup is made with a scoop shape at the top instead of a cup brim. One or more perforated regions or cuts are cut into the front of the cup in a crescent or half-moon shape. The perforated cut is limited to a certain length to allow for the area above the line and the top of the front of the cup to be pushed back to provide for a smaller size, single cavity, food carrying container as described herein and illustrated in the appended drawings. Among the advantages of this cup are: it allows for fewer inventory items that need to be carried; the cups fit in most conventional car cup holders; the scoop shape allows for user access to food items; and the perforated push back section reinforces the back wall when the cup is configured for a smaller size.

There is thus provided in accordance with the present invention an adjustable portion cup including a bottom and a sidewall with a scooped perimeter about an upper aperture of the cup. The sidewall is provided with an invertible sidewall panel, which defines, in part, a contained volume in the cup in a first position and is operative to reinforce an opposite portion of the sidewall in a second position. The invertible panel in the first position is contiguous to and joined with a lower portion of the sidewall such that it defines, in part, a contained volume of the cup. The invertible panel is further provided with a scooped upper edge which defines the scooped portion of the perimeter of the top of the cup at the upper aperture when the invertible panel is in the first position. The invertible panel is further configured so that when displaced from the first position to the second position it is detached from the lower portion of the sidewall with which it was joined and it is in contact with an opposing portion of the cup sidewall, whereby the contained volume of the cup is reduced and the opposing portion of the sidewall is reinforced. The cup is characterized by an overall height, H an invertible panel breadth, B, a scoop height, S, and a lower sidewall portion height, S′.

Preferably the invertible panel is crescent shaped. So also, the cup in most preferred embodiments has a circular cross section with a taper of anywhere from about 2° to about 10°. From about 3° to about 7° is typical. The ratio of the invertible panel breadth to the overall height of the cup, B/H, is from about 0.15 to about 0.35. The ratio of the scoop height to the overall height of the cup, S/H is from about 0.4 to about 0.8, whereas the ratio of the lower sidewall portion height to the overall height of the cup is from about 0.25 to about 0.55, S′/H.

Most preferably the cup is made from a paperboard laminate including a paper layer and a polymer film layer and the panel is integrally formed with the rest of the sidewall. The panel may be scored at its lower edge as well as its lateral edges. Preferably the lower edge is perforated. Any suitable weight of paperboard may be used, generally from about 140 pounds to about 220 pounds per 3000 square foot ream. When a paperboard, polymer laminate is used, a paperboard/low density polyethylene film laminate is perhaps most preferred. In some cases, it may be possible to provide a foamed polymer insulation layer on the outer surfaces of the cup. The foamed layer may be foamed in-situ by action of moisture present in the paperboard with polymer film applied to the paperboard. The foam may be syntactic foam if so desired, and optionally may be patterned on the outside of the cup.

Any suitable size may be used for making the cup, generally the cup has a frusto conical volume of from about 20 to about 50 fluid ounces. Thirty-two ounce and forty-four ounce sizes are perhaps most preferred. By “frusto-conical volume”, it is meant the volume which is calculated from the base of the cup to the upper aperture at its maximum height assuming that the upper aperture is of uniform height, ie. ignoring the scoop as seen in the appended drawings. In other words, frusto-conical volume refers to the frusto-conical section defined between the plane of the bottom of the cup and the plane of the aperture assuming a uniform height at the unscooped portion. The cup of the invention is readily produced on existing manufacturing assets for conventional cups.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

The invention is described in detail below with reference to the various Figures wherein like numerals designate similar parts and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a view in perspective from the top of an adjustable portion cup configured in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a view in front perspective of an adjustable portion cup in accordance with the invention wherein the invertible panel is in a first position contiguous to and joined with the adjacent lower sidewall such that the cup defines a first interior volume;

FIG. 3 is a view in front perspective of the adjustable portion cup of FIG. 2 wherein the invertible panel has been flexed backwardly to the opposite sidewall such that the invertible panel reinforces the back sidewall and the interior volume of the cup is reduced;

FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the cup of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a schematic view of a laminate useful for making the adjustable portion cups of the present invention; and

FIG. 6 is a partial view in perspective in elevation and section of a foamed cup which may be used to fabricate an adjustable portion cup of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention is described in detail in connection with the various figures wherein like numbers designate similar parts. Embodiments illustrated are for purposes of exemplification only and are in no way limitative of the present invention which is defined in the appended claims. Modifications to the embodiments illustrated within the spirit and scope of the claims will be readily apparent to one of skill in the art.

Referring first to FIGS. 1 through 4 there is shown an adjustable portion up 10 which has a bottom 12 and a sidewall 14. The sidewall defines an aperture 6 about its upper edge having a projected upper diameter of D as seen perhaps best in FIG. 4. The aperture has a scooped portion 18 for ease in scooping up servings of french fries, hash browns or other food items to be distributed. The scooped portion of the cup has a height S which is less than the overall or maximum height H of the cup as is seen in FIG. 2. There is provided in accordance with the invention an invertible sidewall panel 22 which extends halfway around cup 10 between lateral scores 26 and 28 as perhaps best seen in FIG. 1. Panel 22 is also defined by a crescent-shaped perforation 24 at its lower edge. The sidewall panel thus has a breadth B and extends between lateral scores 26 and 28. The breadth B is relatively uniform in the embodiment shown but in other embodiments may be variable. In the event, the breadth of the panel is not necessarily uniform over the span of the panel between lateral scores, for example, the breadth is taken as an average value. Likewise S, the height of the scooped portion is taken as the height of the minimum portion of the scoop as shown in FIG. 2. Likewise, a height S′ of a lower sidewall portion 30 of the cup is measured at or about the minimum height of lower sidewall portion 30.

As can be seen, lower sidewall portion 30 is contiguous with and joined to panel 22 and opposes an opposite portion 32 of sidewall 14 of the cup. Panel 22 is suitably configured to extend over 180° of the cup perimeter so it effectively reinforces the opposite sidewall when flexed into surface-to-surface contact therewith as is seen in FIG. 3.

Typically, the adjustable portion cup of the present invention is made on existing assets for manufacturing paper cups; only the upper aperture and sidewall need be modified to produce the cups of this invention. In this regard the adjustable portion cup typically has a taper 36, that is an angle between a vertical and the sidewall of the cup from anywhere from about 2° to 10° with from about 3° to about 7° being typical. The bottom diameter of the cup, D′, is thus smaller than diameter, D, of the upper aperture. Cups are perhaps most preferably made based on 32 ounce or 44 ounce drinking cups. As will be appreciated from the diagram, the adjustable portion cups are thus conveniently made without significant capital investment on existing assets. When it is desired to have a cup of a larger volume, such as interior volume 20, invertible panel 22 is merely left in place as is seen in FIG. 2. The paper cup is manufactured such that it has the scooped upper aperture as shown and described herein and the panel which is integrally formed with the adjacent lower sidewall portion is defined by scores and perforations. When it is desired to convert cup 10 from a larger volume to a cup defining a smaller interior volume 38, invertible panel 22 is flexed backwardly from the position shown in FIG. 2 to the position shown in FIG. 3 wherein the panel is in contact with opposite sidewall portion 32, most preferably in contact over the entire length of the back sidewall portion as is shown. In the configuration shown in FIG. 3, the interior volume 38 is smaller than interior volume 20 of FIG. 2. Also, panel 22 is in surface-to-surface contact over the entire opposing sidewall portion 32, thus reinforcing the rear sidewall.

Note that in the position shown in FIG. 2 the panel likewise supports the rear wall since it provides circumferential support rather than surface-to-surface contact support.

The inventive cups may be made of any suitable material, preferably from paperboard. A typical paperboard laminate is shown schematically in FIG. 5. A paperboard laminate 50 includes a paperboard layer 52 as well as a polymer film 54. Film 54 may be any suitable polymer, preferably low density polyethylene whereas paperboard layer 52 may include starches, waxes and the like as are well known in the art.

The adjustable portion cups of the present invention may be made by any suitable techniques with suitable materials and components as are well known and described in the following patents and patent applications, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference. U.S. Pat. No. 6,135,936 to Brown et al. describes suitable cup bottoms and manufacturing techniques. The cups are typically paperboard/polymer film laminates optionally with an outer wax coating. Suitable foamed polymer insulation material may by provided as is described in co-pending patent application U.S. Ser. Nos. 09/018,563 and 10/36,347, both of Swoboda et al. and both entitled “Coated Paperboards and Paperboard Containers Having Improved Tactile and Bulk Insulation Properties, Attorney Docket Nos. 1935-1 and 1935-2, filed Feb. 4, 1998 and Sep. 6, 2002, respectively. See also U.S. Pat. No. 6,482,481 to Fredricks et al. Foamed insulation applied to the paperboard cups may also include those foamed insulation materials described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,766,709; 5,759,624; 5,725,916; 5,415,340; 5,490,631; 5,278,194; 4,902,722; 4,435,344; 4,425,449; 4,237,171; and 3,864,181. Suitable paperboard cups with foam insulation layers are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,576,709 and 4,435,344. In these patents a foam insulation layer is produced by foaming a polymer material in-situ on the outer surface of a paper cup. In the '709 patent the thickness of the foam layer is controlled by printing, or application of mineral oil to the surface of the polymer film. In U.S. Pat. No. 4,435,344 of Iioka et al. the foam is produced in-situ by action of the moisture present in the paperboard with a polymer film applied to the outer surface of the paperboard. So also, it will be appreciated from the foregoing patents and applications that syntactic foams are readily applied to the outer surface of paperboard used to make the cups utilized in connection with the invention as will be appreciated from U.S. Pat. No. 4,902,722 to Melber. Such foams can be applied over the entire surface of the sidewall of the cups or may be applied in a printed pattern. The terminology “syntactic foam” refers generally to a quasi-foam formed by insulating particles and a polymeric binder. The particles may be hollow microspheres, for example, or simply a particulate material with relatively low thermal conductivity.

Referring to FIG. 6 there is shown a portion of a cup in elevation and section. Cup 10 is provided with a sidewall 14 and a bottom wall 12. Sidewall 14 is formed of a paperboard laminate 60 having a paperboard layer 72 having coated on its inner surface an impermeable unfoamed polymer film 62. The film is preferably formed of an unfoamed polymer material and is impervious to moisture. Additionally bottom wall 12 includes a paperboard laminate 64 also having formed thereon a moisture impervious film 66. The outer surface of paperboard laminate 60 is coated with a low density synthetic resin film 68 on its outer surface. This low density film of plastic synthetic resin film 68 when heated expands to form a heat insulating foam as will be appreciated from the aforesaid U.S. Pat. No. 5,766,709. It has further been found that by applying a mineral oil film 70 on the film of plastic resin film 68 the expansion of the thermoplastic and synthetic film when heat treated is enhanced. Bottom 12 also includes a core paperboard layer 72 as will be appreciated from FIG. 6.

While the invention has been described in detail above in connection with a preferred embodiment, modifications within the spirit and scope of the invention, set forth in the appended claims, will be readily apparent to those of skill in the art. In view of the foregoing discussion, relevant knowledge in the art and references discussed above in connection with the background of the invention, the disclosures of which are all incorporated herein by reference, further description is deemed unnecessary.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7946126May 13, 2008May 24, 2011Blankman Cheryl BAdjustable volume toddler cup
US20130299567 *Jul 16, 2013Nov 14, 2013Compleat LlcVessel and Method for Making the Same
Classifications
U.S. Classification229/101, 229/906, 229/400, 229/902
International ClassificationB65D3/22, B65D3/14, B65D81/38, B65D3/30
Cooperative ClassificationB65D3/14, B65D3/22, B65D3/30, B65D81/3874
European ClassificationB65D3/30, B65D81/38H4, B65D3/22, B65D3/14
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 13, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: DIXIE CONSUMER PRODUCTS LLC, GEORGIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:FORT JAMES CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:018883/0749
Effective date: 20061231
Owner name: DIXIE CONSUMER PRODUCTS LLC,GEORGIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:FORT JAMES CORPORATION;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100225;REEL/FRAME:18883/749
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:FORT JAMES CORPORATION;REEL/FRAME:18883/749
Feb 23, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: CITICORP NORTH AMERICA, INC., NEW YORK
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:ASHLEY, DREW & NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY;BROWN BOARD HOLDING, INC.;CP&P, INC.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:017626/0205
Effective date: 20051223
Owner name: CITICORP NORTH AMERICA, INC.,NEW YORK
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:ASHLEY, DREW & NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY;BROWN BOARD HOLDING, INC.;CP&P, INC. AND OTHERS;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100203;REEL/FRAME:17626/205
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:ASHLEY, DREW & NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY;BROWN BOARD HOLDING, INC.;CP&P, INC. AND OTHERS;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100302;REEL/FRAME:17626/205
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:ASHLEY, DREW & NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY;BROWN BOARD HOLDING, INC.;CP&P, INC. AND OTHERS;US-ASSIGNMENT DATABASE UPDATED:20100518;REEL/FRAME:17626/205
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNORS:ASHLEY, DREW & NORTHERN RAILWAY COMPANY;BROWN BOARD HOLDING, INC.;CP&P, INC. AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:17626/205
Apr 26, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: FORT JAMES CORPORATION, GEORGIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BAYNUM, III, JAMES T.;REEL/FRAME:015949/0573
Effective date: 20050421