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Publication numberUS20050189367 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/057,190
Publication dateSep 1, 2005
Filing dateFeb 15, 2005
Priority dateFeb 16, 2004
Publication number057190, 11057190, US 2005/0189367 A1, US 2005/189367 A1, US 20050189367 A1, US 20050189367A1, US 2005189367 A1, US 2005189367A1, US-A1-20050189367, US-A1-2005189367, US2005/0189367A1, US2005/189367A1, US20050189367 A1, US20050189367A1, US2005189367 A1, US2005189367A1
InventorsShlomit Chasid, Uri Zaidman
Original AssigneeShlomit Chasid, Uri Zaidman
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Closure unit, mold for producing same, and dispenser-container incorporating a closure unit
US 20050189367 A1
Abstract
A closure unit for selectively closing a package of wipes or the like is formed as an integral unit typically in or close to the closed position, and has a flap hinged with respect to a frame defining an opening for enabling dispensing of the wipes or the like therethrough. Break lines between the flap and the frame enable the flap to be torn from the frame at first use, and suitable positive locking means enable the flap to be reclosed with respect to the frame. The structure of the unit is such that no portion of the flap substantially overlaps any portion of the frame when the unit is initially formed, and thus then unit may be formed in or close to the closed position, particularly from sheet material.
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Claims(28)
1. A closure unit for a dispenser-container, comprising a frame member defining an opening and a flap member pivotably connected to said frame member about a hinge arrangement for selectively closing said opening, wherein said closure unit is initially formed having the flap member at a forming angle α with respect to the frame member taken about the hinge arrangement, such that angle α is substantially less than 180°, and wherein said closure unit is initially formed in a manner such that substantially no part of said flap member substantially overlaps any part of said frame member in a direction substantially perpendicular to said opening.
2. A closure unit according to claim 1, wherein said angle α is substantially 0°.
3. A closure unit according to claim 1, wherein said unit is initially formed with said flap member in a substantially closed position, and said flap member is adapted to be detached from said frame member about a portion of a periphery of said flap member such as to enable said flap member to pivot with respect to said frame member via said hinge arrangement between a closed and an open position.
4. A closure unit according to claim 3, wherein said flap member comprises a box-like structure, having an upper panel and front, side and rear walls extending therefrom to said border strip.
5. A closure unit according to claim 4, wherein said hinge arrangement comprises a movable first hinge portion that is comprised on a mid section of said rear wall, and a static second hinge portion that forms part of mid section of the inner base strip.
6. A closure unit according to claim 5, wherein said flap member comprises at least two projections for maintaining the flap member in the open position.
7. A closure unit according to claim 1, wherein said hinge arrangement comprises any one of an integral hinge, a film hinge, or a non-integral hinge.
8. A closure unit according to claim 1, wherein said frame member comprises a raised rib structure for mechanically stiffening said unit.
9. A closure unit according to claim 8, wherein said rib structure comprises a substantially hollow inverted U-shaped cross-section.
10. A closure unit according to claim 3, wherein said flap member is temporarily joined to said frame member via break lines prior to a first use of said closure unit, wherein said break lines are adapted for tearing when said flap member is pulled from said frame member with a predetermined force.
11. A closure unit according to claim 10, wherein said break lines are pre-weakened with respect to the frame member and the flap member.
12. A closure unit according to claim 3, wherein said frame member substantially circumscribes said flap member.
13. A closure unit according to claim 12, wherein said frame member is formed having a foldable tab projecting from said frame member in a longitudinal direction opposed to said flap member and hinge arrangement, said foldable tab being foldable about a hinge line to a position wherein a portion of said frame member is superposed with respect to said foldable tab.
14. A closure unit according to claim 13, wherein said foldable tab comprises a locking arrangement.
15. A closure unit according to claim 14, wherein said locking arrangement comprises at least one first latching member adapted for engagement with a corresponding second latching member comprised in said flap member.
16. A closure unit according to claim 15, wherein said first latching member is adapted for being reversibly locked with respect to said second latching member.
17. A closure unit according to claim 16, wherein said first latching member comprises a protrusion of increasing cross-section in a direction away from said frame member when in the closed position and wherein said second latching member comprises a recess of increasing cross-section in a direction away from said frame member when in the closed position, at least a portion of said recess being complementary to a portion of said protrusion.
18. A closure unit according to claim 17, wherein at least one of said portion of said recess and said portion of said protrusion are elastically deformable to permit selective locking of said first latching member with said second latching member.
19. A closure unit according to claim 3, wherein:
(a) said frame member comprises a break therein adapted for accommodating a bridge joining a tab to said flap member, said tab comprising a locking arrangement;
(b) said locking arrangement comprises first locking means for locking said tab member with respect to said bridge, and second locking means for reversibly locking said flap member with respect to said frame member;
(c) said bridge comprises a fold line for folding said tab member over said bridge to provide locking engagement for said first locking means, and said first locking means comprises suitable first male locking parts comprised on said bridge, and first female locking parts comprised on said tab member;
(d) said bridge is temporarily joined to said frame member via break lines prior to a first use of said closure unit, wherein said break lines are adapted for tearing when said tab is pulled from said frame member with a predetermined force; and
(e) wherein said tab is temporarily joined to said frame member via break lines prior to a first use of said closure unit, wherein said break lines are adapted for tearing when said tab is pulled from said frame member with a predetermined force.
20. A closure unit according to claim 1, wherein said flap further comprises a finger grasping portion, wherein said closure unit is initially formed in a manner such that substantially no part of said finger grasping portion substantially overlaps any part of said frame member in a direction substantially perpendicular to said opening.
21. A closure unit according to claim 1, wherein said unit is formed as an integral unit.
22. A closure unit according to claim 1, wherein said unit is formed from sheet material.
23. A closure unit according to claim 22, wherein said sheet material has a thickness that is substantially uniform.
24. A closure unit according to claim 23, wherein said unit is formed as a vacuum-formed or heat-formed article.
25. A closure unit for a dispenser-container, comprising a frame member defining an opening and a flap member for selectively closing said opening, said flap member being initially formed with said frame member in a substantially closed position and adapted to be detached from said frame member about a portion of a periphery of said flap such as to enable said flap to pivot with respect to said frame member via a hinge arrangement between a closed and an open position, wherein said closure unit is initially formed from suitable sheet material.
26. A dispenser-container for dispensing a plurality of tissues or the like sequentially, comprising a container having a dispensing opening for removing said tissues, and further comprising a closure unit according to claim 1 fixed to said container in overlying relationship with respect to said opening such that when the closure unit is in the open position the opening is accessible and when the closure unit is in the closed position, the opening is substantially closed.
27. A mold for producing a closure unit, wherein said closure unit is as defined in claim 1.
28. A mold according to claim 27, wherein the mold is adapted for vacuum forming said closure unit from suitable sheet material.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a closure unit for use with a dispensing package, in particular such a package that is adapted for containing and dispensing articles, especially tissues or the like.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Packages for articles such as tissues are well known in the art. Such articles may be supplied dry or soaked/impregnated in liquid or lotion e.g. a cleaning agent, a solvent, a skin treating preparation, etc. Most containers for such articles typically are in soft-pack form or in box form, i.e. in the shape of a parallelepiped or cylindrical (e.g. in the case of separably connected tissues in a reel).

Typically, tissues have a generally rectangular shape and are supplied as separably connected sheets, or interleaved or inter folded discrete sheets stacked in a variety of different configurations, to facilitate the so-called pop-up effect, where each tissue has a leading portion that is first to pass through the opening, and a trailing portion that later passes through the opening i.e. a leading tissue removed from a package drags a leading edge of a sequential tissue into a standby position so it extends at a convenient removal position. In other dispensers, the tissues are simply stacked one over the other, and the user has to reach into the package each time to grasp new tissue.

A common arrangement is to provide a narrow dispensing opening through which the tissues are pulled, one at a time, by the user. While the narrowness of the opening facilitates the sequential dispensing of adjacent tissues, it is often desired for such packages to be reversibly sealable to maintain freshness and moisture in the package when not being used, and to prevent dirt and foreign matter from entering the package at such times.

According to some arrangements a closure unit comprises a frame defining a narrow dispensing opening is provided by means of two or more flaps projecting towards each other, leaving an interstice therebetween, where the surfaces may be deformed to allow a user to introduce his/her fingers there through, so as to pull the leading edge of the first tissue. This however, is inconvenient and may even result in injury of the users fingers. A flap made from a rigid or semi rigid plastic material reversibly closes with respect to the frame.

Other arrangements are disclosed in some U.S. patents, for example:

In U.S. Pat. No. 5,791,465, a wipe package uses a known example of a conventional opening- and closing-cover label detachably attached to the main package body. The label is partially peeled away to reveal the opening, enabling the user to take out a tissue, and the label is reattached to the package. An adhesive layer on the label enables reattachment of the label. However, after repeated use, moisture from the tissues, and/or dirt or other foreign matter can adhere to the adhesive surface of the label, and severely reduce the adhesiveness thereof. Moreover, each time the label is attached, the leading tissue has to be fully inserted in the package.

In U.S. Pat. No. 4,848,575 a resealable dispenser-container for wet tissues comprises a container comprising wet tissues, and a tray member, made of a material harder than the container. The container has at a top surface thereof an opening for dispensing the wet tissues therethrough or a weakened line for forming the opening and a flap made of a flexible sheet material which covers the opening or weakened line and which is repeatedly opened and closed. The tray member is disposed within the container between an inner side of the top surface of the container and the wet tissues and having a recessed portion. The recessed portion has an opening formed at a bottom thereof. The tray member is fixed to the inner side of the top surface or side surface of the container.

In WO 02/058524, a storage and dispensing package for wipes comprises a non-rigid container having sides which define a cavity. A collapsible-expandable baffle structure having a width is positioned within the sides of the container and divides the cavity into a storage portion for wipes and a dispensing portion. The baffle structure includes a dispensing orifice through which wipes can pass and communicate with the dispensing portion. A zipper-like resealable mechanism can also be included at an end of the package.

In WO 03/076298, a dispenser for wet wipes has a relatively stiff plastics material body with a peripheral mounting flange for attachment to a pack of wipes, and a tear-open closure is integrally formed with the body. The closure is mounted at an opening in the body across which is stretched a silicone membrane having a circular dispensing opening through which wipes are dispensed from a flow-wrap pack of wipes on which the dispenser is mounted. A portion of the periphery of the closure is tearable away from the body by means of a tab, leaving the closure attached to the body by a hinge. The tab overlies at least a substantial part of the body, requiring difficult and expensive injection molding techniques for its production, if at all available, resulting overall in an expensive dispenser.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention a closure unit for a dispensing container or package is provided. The dispensing container comprises a flap member pivotably connected to a frame member (defining an opening) via hinge arrangement, wherein said closure member is formed having the flap member initially at a forming angle α with respect to the frame member, taken about the hinge arrangement, such that angle α is substantially equal to or greater than 0° and substantially less than 180°.

In particular, the flap member is initially formed at said forming angle α with respect to said frame member, such that no portion of said flap member substantially overlaps with said frame member, particularly in a direction substantially perpendicular to a plane comprising said frame member. Indeed, the flap member is initially formed at said forming angle α with respect to said frame member, such that no portion of said closure unit substantially overlaps with any other portion of said closure unit in a direction substantially perpendicular to a plane comprising said frame member, taking into account the resilience of the material from which the unit is formed.

By a lack of overlapping referred to above is meant that, dividing the closure unit into a plurality of imaginary elements along the upper surface of the unit, for example, such that each element, while being dimensionally small with respect to said upper surface, extends through the thickness of the unit up to the lower surface thereof in a preferably vertical direction, no such element will be substantially superposed over another such element. In some embodiments, a limited amount of overlapping in the vertical direction, between parts of the flap and the frame, may be possible due to the resilience of the material from which the closure unit is made. Such a material typically comprises a plastic, which can deform to a limited degree when force is applied. Thus, although the parts of the molds required for the molding of the overlapping portions also overlap, once cooled the closure unit can be removed from the mold by forcing a partial and temporary deformation of the overlapping parts to free these components from the molds.

Thus when referring herein to one component as not substantially overlapping with respect to another component, this is herein taken to include the plain meaning, wherein there is no actual overlapping, and also to optionally include cases wherein there is a limited amount of actual overlapping, but such as still permits the closure unit to be removed from the mold by making use of the resilience of the material from which the closure unit is made to maneuver the overlapping parts around parts of the molds to enable the closure unit to be freed therefrom.

Typically, the overlapping portions between the flap and frame may represent a plan area that is between 0-5% of the plan area of the closure unit, more typically less than 1% thereof.

In some embodiments, steep surfaces which are at an acute but small angle are also considered as not effectively overlapping, since the resilience of the material from which the closure unit is formed enables the same to be removed from the mould, as explained above, mutatis mutandis.

In some embodiments, angle α is substantially 0°, and the unit is initially formed with said flap member in a substantially closed position. The flap member is adapted to be detached from said frame member about a portion of a periphery of said flap member such as to enable said flap member to pivot with respect to said frame member via said hinge arrangement between a closed and an open position.

Typically, the flap member comprises a box-like structure, having an upper panel and front, side and rear walls extending therefrom to said border strip. The hinge arrangement comprises a movable first hinge portion that is comprised on a mid section of said rear wall, and a static second hinge portion that forms part of mid section of the inner base strip. The first hinge portion pivots with respect to the static second hinge portion via a hinge axis. The flap member comprises at least two projections for maintaining the flap member in the open position: at least one said projection is located at either side of the first hinge portion. The hinge arrangement may comprise any one of an integral hinge, a film hinge, or a non-integral hinge.

Optionally, the frame member comprises a raised rib structure for mechanically stiffening said unit. The rib structure typically comprises a substantially hollow inverted U-shaped cross-section.

The flap member is temporarily joined to said frame member via break lines prior to a first use of said closure unit, wherein said break lines are adapted for tearing when said flap member is pulled from said frame member with a predetermined force, and the break lines are typically pre-weakened with respect to the frame member and the flap member. Optionally, the break lines comprise perforations.

In some of the embodiments, the frame member substantially circumscribes said flap member, and the frame member is formed having a foldable tab projecting from said frame member in a longitudinal direction opposed to said flap member and hinge arrangement, said foldable tab being foldable about a hinge line to a position wherein a portion of said frame member is superposed with respect to said foldable tab.

In one such embodiment, the foldable tab comprises a locking arrangement, which may comprise at least one first latching member adapted for engagement with a corresponding second latching member comprised in said flap member. The first latching member is typically adapted for being reversibly locked with respect to said second latching member. Optionally, the first latching member comprises a protrusion of increasing cross-section in a direction away from said frame member when in the closed position and wherein said second latching member comprises a recess of increasing cross-section in a direction away from said frame member when in the closed position, at least a portion of said recess being complementary to a portion of said protrusion. At least one of said portion of said recess and said portion of said protrusion are elastically deformable to permit selective locking of said first latching member with said second latching member.

The flap further comprises a finger grasping portion, wherein said closure unit is initially formed in a manner such that substantially no part of said finger grasping portion substantially overlaps any part of said frame member in a direction substantially perpendicular to said opening.

In another embodiment, the dispensing container comprises a flap member pivotably connected to a frame member via hinge arrangement, wherein said frame member comprises an opening adapted for accommodating a pulling tab joined to said flap member. The frame member comprises a break therein adapted for accommodating a bridge joining a tab to said flap member, said tab comprising a locking arrangement, which in turn comprises first locking means for locking said tab member with respect to said bridge, and second locking means for reversibly locking said flap member with respect to said frame member.

The bridge comprises a fold line for folding said tab member over said bridge to provide locking engagement for said first locking means, and said first locking means comprises suitable first male locking parts comprised on said bridge, and first female locking parts comprised on said tab member.

The bridge and the tab are each temporarily joined to said frame member via break lines prior to a first use of said closure unit, wherein said break lines are adapted for tearing when said bridge and tab, respectively, are pulled from said frame member with a predetermined force.

In this embodiment, the frame member is in the form of a “C” and said opening is located between the open ends of said “C”. The said hinge arrangement may comprise an integral hinge, or a film hinge, or a non-integral hinge. Optionally, the frame member comprises a raised rib structure joined to an outer base strip and an inner base strip that circumscribe the outer and inner peripheries, respectively, of the rib structure. The rib structure may comprise a substantially solid cross-section, or alternatively a substantially hollow inverted U-shaped cross-section. Preferably, the frame member further comprises extensions at the said open ends thereof; the flap member comprises a border strip that circumscribes the periphery thereof, and the flap member comprises a box-like structure, having an upper panel and front, side and rear walls extending therefrom to said border strip. Preferably, the flap member comprises a finger-grasping portion in the form of a recess on said front wall thereof.

The hinge arrangement comprises a movable first hinge portion that forms part of the border strip adjacent a mid section of said rear wall, and a static second hinge portion that forms part of mid section of the inner base strip. The first hinge portion pivots with respect to the static second hinge portion via a hinge axis. Preferably, the flap member comprises at least two projections for maintaining the flap member in the open position. At least one said projection is located at either side of the first hinge portion.

The pulling tab comprises a locking arrangement. In this embodiment, the locking arrangement comprises a tab member joined to said bridge, first locking means for locking said tab member with respect to said bridge, and second locking means for reversibly locking said flap member with respect to said frame member. The bridge comprises a fold line for folding said tab member over said bridge to provide locking engagement for said fist locking means. The first locking means comprises suitable first male locking parts comprised on said bridge, and first female locking parts comprised on said tab member. The first female parts comprise a first recess and said first male locking parts comprise first projections that are adapted for locking engagement with said first recess. The second locking means comprises suitable second male locking parts comprised on each said extension, and second female locking parts comprised on said tab member. The second female parts comprise second recesses and said second male locking parts comprise second projections that are adapted for locking engagement with said second recesses. The second recesses are located at least one thereof on either side of said first recess. Preferably, the first recess and said second recesses are continuously provided in said tab member.

The flap member is temporarily joined to said frame member via break lines prior to a first use, wherein said break lines are adapted for tearing when said flap member is pulled from said frame member with a predetermined force. The break lines are comprised between said inner base strip and said border strip. The break lines are further comprised between said bridge and said extensions. The break lines are pre-weakened with respect to the frame member and the flap member. The break lines optionally comprise perforations.

Optionally, the frame member comprises a lower adhesive layer for adhering the unit to a suitable container or the like. Further optionally, the unit comprises a removable protective strip for temporarily covering said adhesive layer.

Preferably, the closure unit is formed as an integral unit. Optionally, the unit is formed from a sheet material. The sheet material has a thickness that may be substantially uniform, or may vary as desired. Optionally, the unit is formed as a vacuum-formed or heat formed article. Alternatively, the unit is formed by a mold injection process.

The present invention is also directed to a mold arrangement for producing a closure unit, wherein the closure unit is as defined herein, in particular according to any one of the embodiments described herein. The mold may be adapted for vacuum forming or for heat forming, or for the injection of plastic material.

The present invention is also directed to a dispenser-container for dispensing a plurality of tissues or the like sequentially, comprising a container having a dispensing opening for removing said tissues, and further comprising a closure unit according to the present invention, fixed to said container in overlaying relationship with respect to the opening, such that when the closure unit is in the open position the opening is accessible, and when the closure unit is closed the opening is substantially sealed, from an outside of said dispenser-container. By “sealed”, “sealingly” and so on, is meant that while a air tight or liquid tight closure is preferred, these terms also refer to any degree of closure between provided by the closure unit, in particular between the flap and the frame member, such that foreign matter is at least by an large prevented from entering the opening of the container, and at the same time, evaporation of fluids from the container is substantially slowed down during a typical life-cycle of a container.

Typically, the container is a flexible container, and the closure unit is made from a material having greater stiffness than that of the material from which the container is made. Alternatively, the container is a substantially rigid container.

The present invention is also directed to a closure unit for a dispenser-container, comprising a frame member defining an opening and a flap member for selectively closing said opening, said flap member being initially formed with said frame member in a substantially closed position and adapted to be detached from said frame member about a portion of a periphery of said flap such as to enable said flap to pivot with respect to said frame member via a hinge arrangement between a closed and an open position, wherein said closure unit is initially formed from suitable sheet material.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order to understand the invention and to see how it may be carried out in practice, some embodiments will now be described, by way of non-limiting examples only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tissue dispenser-container fitted with a closure unit according to the first embodiment of the invention, before first use of the dispenser-container;

FIG. 2 illustrates the embodiment of FIG. 1 with the closure unit in a normally closed position;

FIG. 3 illustrates the embodiment of FIG. 1 with the closure unit in a normally opened position;

FIG. 4 illustrates in plan view the closure unit of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 illustrates in fragmented cross-sectional view some details of the first locking means of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 illustrates in fragmented cross-sectional view some details of the second locking means of the embodiment of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a tissue dispenser-container fitted with a closure unit according to the second embodiment of the invention, before first use of the dispenser-container;

FIG. 8 illustrates the embodiment of FIG. 7 with the closure unit in a normally closed position;

FIG. 9 illustrates the embodiment of FIG. 7 with the closure unit in a normally opened position;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a tissue dispenser-container fitted with a closure unit according to the third embodiment of the invention, before first use of the dispenser-container or in the normally closed position;

FIG. 11 illustrates the embodiment of FIG. 10 with the closure unit in a normally opened position;

FIG. 12 illustrates in plan view the closure unit of the embodiment of FIG. 10;

FIG. 13 illustrates in fragmented cross-sectional view the embodiment of FIG. 12 taken along C-C;

FIG. 14 illustrates in fragmented cross-sectional view the embodiment of FIG. 13, when the closure unit is in the closed position illustrated in FIG. 10;

FIG. 15 illustrates some details of the locking means of the embodiment of FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a tissue dispenser-container fitted with a closure unit according to the fourth embodiment of the invention, before first use of the dispenser-container or in the normally closed position;

FIG. 17 illustrates the embodiment of FIG. 16 with the closure unit in a normally opened position;

FIG. 18 illustrates in perspective view the closure unit of the embodiment of FIG. 16;

FIG. 19 is a perspective view of a tissue dispenser-container fitted with a closure unit according to the fifth embodiment of the invention, in a normally opened position;

FIG. 20 a illustrates the embodiment of FIG. 19 with the closure unit, before first use of the dispenser-container;

FIG. 20 b illustrates the embodiment of FIG. 19 with the closure unit in a normally closed position;

FIG. 21 is a plan view of a closure unit according to the sixth embodiment of the invention, with the closure unit as initially formed in a closed position and prior to folding the tab;

FIGS. 22 a and 22 b illustrate in cross-sectional view the embodiment of FIG. 21 taken along F-F: FIG. 22 a—with the unit as initially formed; FIG. 22 b—with the unit ready for mounting, with the tab in the folded position;

FIG. 23 is a perspective view of a tissue dispenser-container fitted with a closure unit according to the embodiment of FIG. 21, with the closure unit in a normally open position;

FIG. 24 is a perspective view of a tissue dispenser-container fitted with a closure unit according to the seventh embodiment of the invention, in the normally open position;

FIG. 25 illustrates in side view the closure unit of the embodiment of FIG. 24 with the closure unit in the injection position;

FIG. 26 illustrates in plan view the closure unit of FIG. 25;

FIG. 27 illustrates in cross sectional view the closure unit of FIG. 26 taken along D-D;

FIG. 28 illustrates in cross sectional view the closure unit of FIG. 27 in the closed position;

FIG. 29 illustrates in cross sectional view the closure unit of FIG. 26 taken along E-E;

FIG. 30 is a perspective view of a tissue dispenser-container fitted with a closure unit according to the eighth embodiment of the invention, in the normally open position;

FIG. 31 illustrates in plan view the closure unit of the embodiment of FIG. 30 with the closure unit in the closed injection position;

FIG. 32 illustrates in cross sectional view the closure unit of FIG. 31 taken along P-P;

FIG. 33 illustrates in cross sectional view the closure unit of FIG. 31 taken along Q-Q;

FIG. 34 illustrates in fragmented cross sectional view a detail of the closure unit of FIG. 33;

FIG. 35 illustrates in cross sectional view the closure unit of FIG. 31 taken along R-R;

FIG. 36 illustrates in fragmented isometric view the flap of the closure unit of FIG. 30 in the open position; and

FIG. 37 illustrates in fragmented plan view the closure unit of FIG. 30 in the closed/injection position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Herein, the term “tissues” is taken to include, in addition to regular tissues, also wet wipes, towels, napkins, and all manner of similar articles, whether dry or impregnated with a liquid and/or comprising a powder, paste or other substance.

The tissues may be made, for example, from a fibrous material such as non-woven fabric, paper, gauze, or foam or any other suitable material formed in a sheet. Where the tissues are impregnated with liquid, the liquid may comprise, for example: liquid cosmetics, such as toilet water or milky lotion; drugs, such as an antiseptic or a medicine; cleaning solution for cleaning skin, including alcohol, moisturing agent, surfactant and so on; or solution for wiping stains in a kitchen, including alcohol, agent, surfactant and so on.

A typical dispenser-container according to a first embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 3. The dispenser-container, generally designated 60, comprises a resealable container 10, which in the present embodiment may be similar to that of the conventionally known portable dispenser-container of a bag type for wet tissues. The container 10 is made from a flexible sheet suitably folded and bonded along a longitudinal join (not shown) and at ends 15 to provide an internal space that is filled with articles to be dispensed, such as tissues and the like.

The flexible sheet constituting the container 10 may comprise, for example, synthetic resins such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polyamide, polyester, and polyvinyl chloride in the form of a film, and the film may be a single layer or a laminated layer. The film may be a laminated layer of the above-mentioned film and an aluminum foil or paper, and the container 10 is in any case deformable.

The sheet constituting a container 10 may be gas impervious or liquid impervious depending on the kind of the liquid impregnated in tissues, i.e., fibrous materials impregnated with liquid cosmetics or a medicine, contained in the container 10. For example, it may be preferred to use a sheet which is impervious to both gas and liquid, when perfumes which are very volatile are contained in the liquid.

Optionally, tissues may be separate tissues arranged in a interleaved manner or in a zig-zagging pattern separately connected to one another about a perforated tear line, or bonded one to another along overlapping trailing edges and leading edges, respectively, or separately disposed on a stack. The container 10 comprises a dispensing opening 20 through which the tissues are dispensed from the internal space. Optionally, a removable adhesive strip is provided over the opening 20 to cover the same until first use thereof. Alternatively, the opening 20 may be temporarily covered prior to first use by an integrally formed cover having a perforated or otherwise weakened periphery that is tearable to expose said opening 20.

The opening 20 is preferably sized for dispensing one tissue at a time while separating a duty tissue from a successive tissue. The arrangement with such tissues is preferably such that upon pulling a leading edge of a standby tissue (by using the term “standby tissue” is referred to a first tissue in a pack of tissues which is to be removed from the container), the standby tissue is withdrawn through the opening 20 whilst it detaches from the sequential tissue, which becomes in turn a duty tissue with its leading edge now projecting from the opening 20.

Alternatively, the dispenser-container may comprise a rigid container, made for example of plastic material fitted typically at a top or bottom thereof with an openable cover for introducing a pack of tissues for dispensing, the cover or box having a dispensing opening through which the tissues are dispensed from the inside of the box.

According to the first embodiment of the present invention, the container comprises a closure unit 100 for reversibly and sealably closing the dispensing aperture 20. The closure unit 100 is made from a suitable material, typically having greater stiffness than that of the flexible sheet from which the container 10 is made. The closure unit 100 comprises a flap 120 pivotably connected to a frame 140 via hinge arrangement 130.

Preferably, the hinge arrangement 130 comprises a so-called ‘integral hinge’, allowing the flap 120 to deform and/or rotate about the hinge. Alternatively, a ‘film hinge’ is provided at 130, in which case the thickness of material at the film hinge, particularly at the pivoting axis 139, is a little less than that of the frame 140, and thus enables the cover flap 120 to preferentially pivot about this hinge. According to another embodiment (not shown), the hinge may be a non-integral hinge, e.g. formed from one or more thin strips of material suitably bonded to the frame 140 and the flap 120.

The frame 140 in this embodiment is in the form of a “C”, comprising a raised rib structure 145 joined to an outer base strip 144 and an inner base strip 142 that circumscribes the outer and inner peripheries, respectively, of the rib structure, as illustrated particularly in FIG. 4. The rib structure 145 is optional, and may be of solid, substantially rectangular cross-section, but is preferably hollow and of inverted U cross-section, and provides mechanical strength and rigidity to the unit 100, even when made from thin material. A gap is left between the facing ends or jaws 147 of the C-shaped rib structure 145. Preferably, the facing ends of strip 144 are extended via extensions 148, such that a gap 152 is left between the two extensions 148, as best seen in FIG. 3.

The flap 120 is typically rectangular, and comprises an open box-like structure, having an upper panel 121 and front wall 122, side walls 123 and rear wall 124 joined to the panel 121. In the illustrated embodiment, the front wall 122 and the rear wall 124 are each longer than each of the side walls 123. A border strip 128 circumscribes the outer periphery of the flap 120, and is substantially co-planar with inner base strip 142. The flap 120 comprises a finger-grasping portion in the form of a semi-cylindrical recess 125 formed on the front wall 122. The box-like structure of the flap 120 allows for the leading edge of a tissue to remain protruding from the opening 20 when the flap is closed, enabling the duty tissue to be easily pulled next time the flap is opened.

The hinge arrangement 130 comprises a movable first hinge portion 135 that forms part of the border strip 128 adjacent a mid section 136 of rear wall 124, and a static second hinge portion 133 that forms part of mid section 134 of the inner base strip 142. The first hinge portion 135 thus pivots with respect to the static second hinge portion 133 via a fold line or hinge axis 139.

The flap 120 comprises projections 129, one at either side of the hinge portion 133, for maintaining the flap in the open position. The projections extend in a rearwards direction from the rear wall 124 beyond the hinge line 139. Thus, as the flap 120 is rotated to the open position, the projections 129 also rotate and are displaced to a position which is now in-board of the hinge line 139, as illustrated in FIG. 3. Thus, the flap 120 cannot by itself flop down to the closed position, since the projections act as a stop. This effect is enhanced by the portion 11 of the container material that is within the frame 140, which is held taut by the presence of the frame 140 itself. The portion 11 acts as a spring and pushes the projections 129 in a direction away from the portion 11, since in this position the projections 129 are pressurizing the portion 11 into the unit 10. Since the projections 129 are now inboard of the hinge line 139, as illustrated in FIG. 3, this force urges the flap 120 in the open position. When a reasonable closing force is applied to the flap, the resistance between the projections and the material of the container 10 in the vicinity thereof is overcome, and the flap may be fully rotated to the closed position.

The closure unit 100 further comprises a pulling tab in the form of a locking arrangement 200 for reversibly locking the flap 120 with respect to the frame 140 in a substantially sealing manner. The locking arrangement 200 comprises a locking tab 210 joined to a portion 215 of the border strip 128 that is adjacent the mid-section of the front wall 122 via a bridge 230.

The locking arrangement 200 according to this embodiment comprises two locking means. The first locking means is provided for locking the tab 210 with respect to the bridge 230, preferably permanently. The first locking means comprises a male part in the form of one or more snaps 272 comprised on the inner base strip 142, and a female part in the form of a recess 274 formed on the tab 210. Referring particularly to FIG. 5, the snap 272 comprises a head 271 and neck section 273, which is joined to the bridge 230. The width of the head 271 is such as to provide a tight fit with respect to the recess 274, which has a narrowing mouth 275 which engages the neck section 273 when the first locking means is locked. Optionally, the head may be formed with a substantially flat shoulder 276 facing the bridge portion, and similarly the recess may comprise a complementary seat 277 just inside of the mouth 275, so that when the snap 272 is inserted into the recess, the shoulder is engages with the seat, and the snap 272 cannot be removed from the recess 274, except with extraordinary force or by damaging the same. A fold line 216 (shown dotted in FIG. 4) separates the locking tab 210 from the bridge 230, and enables the tab 210 to be folded over the bridge 230 and locked in place with respect thereto, wherein the locking snap 272 is tightly accommodated with respect to recess 274, which is now in registry with the snap 272, as illustrated in FIG. 2.

The second locking means is provided for reversibly locking the tab 210 with respect to the frame 140 via extensions 148. Referring to FIG. 6, the second locking means comprises a male part in the form of one or more snaps 262 comprised on each of the extensions 148, and a female part in the form of corresponding recesses 264 formed on the tab 210. As illustrated in FIG. 4, the recesses 264 may be formed continuously with recess 274, in the form of a channel having an appropriate cross-section, which may vary along its transverse length according to the shape of the snaps 262 and 272. Each snap 262 preferably comprises a head 261 and neck section 263, which is joined to the corresponding extension 148. The width of the head 261 is such as to provide a reasonably tight fit with respect to the recess 264, which has a narrowing mouth 265 which engages the neck section 263 when the second locking means is locked. When the locking tab 210 is folded over and locked with the bridge 230, the snaps 262 are in registry with the recesses 264. At the same time, the fit between the snaps 262 and recesses 264 is insufficient to prevent the second locking means from unlocking and opening up when a reasonable separating force is applied between the tab 210 and the frame 140.

The structure of the closure unit 100 is such that it may be advantageously formed as an integral unit, preferably of uniform thickness throughout, and formed in a configuration wherein the flap 120 is at an angle substantially zero with respect to the frame 140. In other words, the flap 120 is pivotably connected to the frame 140 via the hinge arrangement, and the closure unit 100 is formed having the flap 120 initially at a forming angle with respect to the frame 140 taken about the hinge arrangement, such that the forming angle is about 0°, and thus substantially less than 180°.

In the initially formed configuration, as illustrated in FIG. 4, for example, no portion of the flap or indeed any other part of the closure member overlaps with any other part of the closure member 100, taken in a direction substantially perpendicular to the plane of the frame 140. Thus, the closure unit 100 may be manufactured by vacuum forming or any other suitable method that uses a suitable sheet material, typically a plastics material, such as for example polystyrene, polyester or PVC. This affords the possibility of reducing the manufacturing costs thereof, both in terms of materials and the process, substantially reducing the per-item cost of the container, as compared with prior art containers having a sealable closure unit, particularly of containers in the form of flexible tissue packages.

Alternatively, the closure unit 100 may also be manufactured using molding and injection methods, as known in the art, in the configuration illustrated in FIG. 4. Another advantage of the closure unit of the present invention is that since it can be manufactured in a substantially “closed” position, which is possible because, in plan view, none of the components overlap, there is no need to then close the flap over the frame to seal the opening 20. Accordingly, if manufactured using molding and injection methods, the molds therefore are considerably smaller, typically up to 50% smaller, than if the closure unit were to be manufactured in the open position, thereby reducing costs.

While for the first embodiment of the invention, the tab 210 is folded over the bridge 230, this step may optionally be performed by the customer before opening the package, and in any case does not affect the closure of the opening 20 by the unit 100 prior thereto.

When formed as an integral unit, the flap 120, bridge 230 and tab 210 are joined to the frame 140 via two fracturable or otherwise separable break lines 300, each in the form of an “S”. Each break line 250 thus extends from one or the other end of the pivot line 139 between the inner base strip 142 and the border strip 128, between the extensions 148 and the border strip 128, between the extensions 148 and the bridge 230, and finally between the extensions 148 and the tab 210. Optionally, the areas between extensions 148 and the tab 210 may be separated, and thus the break lines 250 do not need to extend to these areas. The break lines 250 may be perforated, or pre-weakened, or formed with substantially less material than the surrounding parts of the flap 120 or frame 140, and thus tear or break when a predetermined lifting force is applied to the flap 120 with respect to the frame 140. Optimally, such a lifting force is set to be within the range of forces that can normally be applied by an average adult without over-exertion, while not being so low that simple mishandling of the dispenser-container 60 would cause the break lines 250 to tear.

The outer base strip 144, inner base strip 142 and the extensions 148 comprise an adhesive layer which enable these parts of the unit 100 to be adhered to the container 10 such as to circumscribe the opening 20, as illustrated in FIG. 3. Alternatively, these parts may be otherwise bonded to the container 10, for example by heat welding.

The dispenser-container 60 including the closure unit 100 may be used as follows. Referring to FIG. 1, an unused dispenser-container 60 is provided with a integrally formed closure unit 100, bonded to the container 10 via base strip 144, inner base strip 142 and the extensions 148. The tab 210 is somewhat separated from the container 10 and is graspable. The user grasps the tab 210 and folds this about fold line 216 and engaged with respect to the bridge 230, as illustrated in FIG. 2. Alternatively, this step may be performed at the factory or at any other point before reaching the consumer. For example, the engagement of tab 210 with the bridge 230 may be preformed when the unit 100 is manufactured, and before bonding the same to the container 10; alternatively the tab 210 may be engaged with the bridge 230 after the unit 100 is bonded to the container 10. When the tab 210 is engaged with the bridge 230 at factory, a permanent glue or the like may be used to permanently bond the two components together, and thus it is not so necessary for the snap 272 to be shaped such as to be permanently engaged in recess 274 by virtue solely of the shape thereof.

The user can then pull the tab 210 away from the frame 140, typically by grasping the underside of bridge 230 with a thumb and the recess 125 with another finger, thereby tearing away the break lines 250, and separating the joined components comprising the tab 210, bridge 230 and flap 120 from the frame 140 up to but not including the hinge line 139. The flap can then assume the open position illustrated in FIG. 3, wherein the projections 129 maintain the flap in the open position. The flap 120 may be closed by rotating the flap back to its original position, and engaging the snaps 262 with recesses 264. Thereafter, the flap 210 may be opened and closed as often as required to access tissues from the container 10.

Alternatively, the user pulls the tab 210 away from the frame 140, thereby tearing away the break lines 250, and separating the joined components comprising the tab 210, bridge 230 and flap 120 from the frame 140 up to but not including the hinge line 139. Then, the tab 210 is folded about fold line 216 and engaged with respect to the bridge 230. Thereafter, the flap 210 may be opened or closed via engagement of the snaps 262 with recesses 264 as often as required to access tissues from the container 10.

Thus, the break lines 250 also serve as a factory seal and tamper proof evidence that the container-dispenser 60 has not been opened.

Optionally, the closure unit 100 is provided as a stand-alone unit, that is adapted as a retrofit device for any suitable container, or indeed as a general purpose closure device for an opening. Such a closure unit is thus as described above with respect to the first embodiment, mutatis mutandis, but instead of being bonded to the container 10 directly from the factory, it is provided separately as a stand-alone closure unit. This closure unit thus preferably comprises an adhesive coating on base strip 144, inner base strip 142 and the extensions 148, and these portions are covered with a temporary protective strip. Alternatively, the user may provide an adhesive coating or the like. When required, a user can remove the protective the strip, align the device with an opening that it is wished to cover, and then adheres the device thereto. Opening the device for the first time, and subsequent operation thereof is as described for the closure unit 100, mutatis mutandis.

A second embodiment of the invention, illustrated in FIGS. 7 to 9, comprises a closure unit 300, which is substantially similar in form and operation to the closure unit 100 described herein particularly with reference to the first embodiment, mutatis mutandis. The major difference between the first embodiment and the second embodiment is that in the latter embodiment, the front wall 322 and rear wall 324 of the lid 320 are each substantially shorter than the side walls 323 thereof, and similarly the surrounding structure, such as for example the frame 340, accommodates the difference in aspect ratios between the lids 120 and 320. As with the first embodiment, the closure unit of the second embodiment may also be provided as a stand-alone unit, in a similar manner as described with respect to the first embodiment, mutatis mutandis.

A typical dispenser-container according to a third embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 10 to 15, and comprises all the elements and features of the first embodiment, mutatis mutandis, with the differences that will become apparent in the description that follows. The dispenser-container, generally designated 460, comprises a resealable container 10, as already described for the first embodiment, mutatis mutandis, having an internal space that is filled with articles to be dispensed, such as tissues and the like via opening 20. According to the third embodiment, the container comprises a closure unit 400 for reversibly sealably closing the dispensing aperture 20. Thus, the closure unit 400 comprises a cover, cap or flap 420 pivotably connected to a frame 440 via hinge arrangement 430.

In contrast to the first embodiment, the frame 440 is in a form that substantially fully circumscribes the periphery of the lid 420, rather than being in the form of an open “C”. Optionally, though, the frame may comprise a C-shaped raised rib structure (not shown) similar to that of the first embodiment, mutatis mutandis, or indeed a rib structure that also circumscribes the flap 420. The frame 440 is thus substantially rectangular, having a front strip 446 and a rear strip 442 each joined to two side strips 444 at the transverse ends thereof.

The flap 420 is typically rectangular and may be substantially similar to that of the first embodiment, and thus comprises an open box-like structure, having an upper panel 421 and front wall 422, side walls 423 and rear wall 424 joined to the panel 421. In the illustrated embodiment, the front wall 422 and the rear wall 424 are each longer than each of the side walls 423. Furthermore, the flap 420 may optionally comprise substantially rounded corner portions 427. A border strip 428 circumscribes the outer periphery of the flap 420, and is substantially co-planar with the frame 440. The flap 420 comprises a finger-grasping portion, which in the illustrated embodiment in the form of a cylindrical dimple or recess 425 formed on the upper panel 421.

The hinge arrangement 430 is similar in form and function to that of the first embodiment, mutatis mutandis, and similarly, the flap 420 comprises projections 429, one at either side of the hinge arrangement 430, for maintaining the flap in the open position.

Optionally, and advantageously, a stiffening rib 470 may be provided on the front strip 446.

In contrast to the first embodiment, rather than a pulling tab, the closure unit 400 of the third embodiment comprises a different form of a locking arrangement 480 for reversibly locking the flap 420 with respect to the frame 440 in a substantially sealing manner. The locking arrangement 480 according to this embodiment comprises two tooth-like locking latches 410 carried on a tab 435, although in other embodiments more than two or less than two latches may be provided. The latches 410 are provided for reversibly locking the flap 420 with respect to the frame 440.

A fold line 416 separates the tab 430 from the front strip 446, and enables the tab 435 to be folded under the front strip 446 and locked in place with respect thereto by any suitable means, for example by bonding or heat welding the tab 430 to the front strip 446. The latches 410 are located on the tab 435 in a position such that when the tab 435 is folded under the front strip 446, the latches are protruding in a direction slightly towards the inside of the cap 420 (when in the closed position), typically at an angle γ taken from the vertical 499 (orthogonal to the plane of the front strip 446) of between about 2 to about 7 degrees, though angle γ may be greater than 7 degrees or less than 2 degrees, typically depending on the resiliency of the material from which the unit 400 is made, and in particular engage the inside faces of the front wall 422 and/or side walls 423.

Referring particularly to FIGS. 13 to 15, the latches 410 are each in the form of a protrusion comprised on the tab 435, and comprises a forward face 411 that is slanting slightly in the forward direction, i.e., away from the hinge arrangement 430 when the tab 435 is folded as described above. The flap 420 comprises a complementarily slanting contact face 429 that engages with face 411, and thus maintains the flap 420 in a closed position with respect to the frame 440. Essentially, the front wall 422 and/or side walls 423, or at least the said contact faces 429, have a narrowing edge 465 which is hooked over the free end of the protrusion and is seated with respect to the slanting forward face 411. At the same time, the fit between the faces 411 and 429 is insufficient to prevent latches 410 from unlocking and opening up with respect to the flap 420 when a reasonable separating force is applied between the flap 420 and the frame 440.

Alternatively, the closure unit 400 may be manufactured using molding and injection methods, as known in the art.

As with the first embodiment, the structure of the closure unit 400 is such that it may be advantageously formed as an integral unit of uniform thickness throughout, and may be manufactured by vacuum forming or any other suitable method that uses a suitable sheet material, typically a plastics material. In other words, the flap 420 is pivotably connected to the frame 440 via the hinge arrangement, and the closure unit 400 is formed having the flap 420 initially at a forming angle with respect to the frame 440 taken about the hinge arrangement, such that the forming angle is about 0°, and thus substantially less than 180°.

While the faces 411 and 429 are sloping at acute angles with respect to the surrounding frame 440, these angles with respect to a vertical datum are indeed very small, and thus the natural elasticity of the material from which the unit 400 is formed is sufficient to remove such a part when formed over suitable molds. Thus, by non-overlapping it is meant also to include embodiments such as the third embodiment, in which at least some parts may be disposed at an acute angle with respect to the frame, for example.

When formed as an integral unit, the flap 420 is joined to the frame 440 via a fracturable or otherwise separable break line 450, in the form of a “C”, excluding the hinge means 430. The break line 450 thus extends from one end of the pivot line of the hinge means 430, between the frame 440 and the border strip 428, and to the other end of the pivot line of the hinge means 430. The break line 450 may be perforated, or pre-weakened, or formed with substantially less material than the surrounding parts of the flap 420 or frame 440, and thus tear or break when a predetermined lifting force is applied to the flap 420 with respect to the frame 440 for the first time. Optimally, such a lifting force is set to be within the range of forces that can normally be applied by an average adult without over-exertion, while not being so low that simple mishandling of the dispenser-container 60 would cause the break lines 450 to tear. Alternatively, the unit 400 may be provided with a break line 450 that is already fully perforated.

The exposed part underside of the frame 440 and the underside of the tab 435, when this is bonded to the frame, comprise an adhesive layer which enables these parts of the unit 400 to be adhered to the container 10 such as to circumscribe the opening 20, as illustrated in FIG. 11. Alternatively, these parts may be otherwise bonded to the container 10, for example by heat welding.

The closure unit 400 according to this embodiment is typically provided with the tab 435 already folded under and bonded or otherwise joined to the front strip 446. The closure unit 400 is also bonded in this configuration to the container 10 before it reaches the customer. Alternatively, the closure unit 400 may be provided as a separate unit, to be mounted to the container 10 by the customer.

(In any case, the closure unit 400 is typically manufactured in the form illustrated in FIG. 12. The tab 435 is then rotated and folded back about line 416, and glued, bonded, welded or otherwise joined to the underside of the frame 440, particularly the front strip 446, as illustrated in FIGS. 13 and 14.)

The dispenser-container 460 including the closure unit 400 may be used as follows. Referring to FIG. 10, an unused dispenser-container 460 is provided with an integrally formed closure unit 400, bonded to the container 10 via the underside of tab 435 and part of the underside of frame 440.

To open the closure unit 400, the user can then push the flap 420 slightly forwards and upwards to disengage the flap 420 from the latches 410. The forward movement is permitted by the hinge arrangement 430, which preferably comprises a hemi-cylindrical configuration which is deformable to provide the required play. The flap can then assume the open position illustrated in FIG. 11, wherein the projections 429 maintain the flap in the open position. The flap 420 may be closed by rotating the flap back to its original position, and engaging the faces 429 of the flap 420 with latches 411.

Optionally, for the first use of the unit 400, the user pulls the flap 420 away from the frame 440, thereby tearing away the break lines 450, and separating the flap 420 from the frame 440 up to but not including the hinge line of the hinge means 430. In such a case, the break lines 450 also serve as a factory seal and tamper proof evidence that the container-dispenser 460 has not been opened.

As with the first embodiment, mutatis mutandis, the closure unit 400 may optionally be provided as a stand-alone unit, that is adapted as a retrofit device for any suitable container, or indeed as a general purpose closure device for an opening.

A fourth embodiment of the invention, illustrated in FIGS. 16 to 18, comprises a closure unit 500, which is substantially similar in form and operation to the closure unit 400 described herein particularly with reference to the third embodiment, mutatis mutandis. The major difference between the third embodiment and the fourth embodiment is that in the latter embodiment, the front wall 522 and rear wall 524 of the lid 520 are each substantially shorter than the side walls 523 thereof, and similarly the surrounding structure, such as for example the frame 540, accommodates the difference in aspect ratios between the lids or flaps 420 and 520. Optionally, the finger-grasping portion may be in the form of a cylindrical tab 525 which is formed on the front wall 522 of the flap 520. The fold line 516 is separated by the tab 525, and thus part of the tab protrudes forwardly when the tab 535 that is joined to the frame 540 via line 516, is folded under the frame, as illustrated in FIG. 17. This arrangement for the tab 525 provides for easier grasping of the flap 520, and facilitates tearing away the flap 520 with respect to the break line 550 at first use of the closure unit. Closure of the flap is via latches 510, which are similar to those described for the third embodiment, mutatis mutandis.

As with the third embodiment, the closure unit of the fourth embodiment may also be provided as a stand-alone unit, in a similar manner as described with respect to the third embodiment, mutatis mutandis.

A typical dispenser-container according to a fifth embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 19 to 21, and comprises all the elements and features of the third embodiment, mutatis mutandis, with the differences that will become apparent in the description that follows. The dispenser-container, generally designated 660, comprises a resealable container 10, as already described for the first embodiment, mutatis mutandis, having an internal space that is filled with articles to be dispensed, such as tissues and the like via opening 20. According to the fifth embodiment, the container comprises a closure unit 600 for reversibly sealably closing the dispensing aperture 20. Thus, the closure unit 600 comprises a cover, cap or flap 620 pivotably connected to a frame 640 via hinge arrangement 630.

As with the third embodiment, the frame 640 is in a form that substantially fully circumscribes the periphery of the lid 620, and may optionally comprise a C-shaped raised rib structure (not shown) similar to that of the first embodiment, mutatis mutandis, or any suitable rib structure. The frame 640 is thus substantially rectangular, having a front strip 646 and a rear strip 642 each joined to two side strips 644 at the transverse ends thereof. Similarly, the flap 620 is typically rectangular, and thus comprises an open box-like structure, having an upper panel 621 and front wall 622, which is optionally curved as illustrated in the Figures, side walls 623 and rear wall 624 joined to the panel 621. In the illustrated embodiment, the front wall 622 and the rear wall 624 are each shorter than each of the side walls 623, though in other embodiments the front and rear walls may be longer than the side walls. The flap 620 comprises a finger-grasping portion, which in the illustrated embodiment in the form of a disc-like tab 625 joined to a lower part of the front wall 622 via neck portion 626. Thus, the front strip 646 of the frame 640 comprises a circular aperture 645 and a neck portion 647 complementary to the outer peripheries of the tab 625 and neck portion 626, respectively. Optionally, a border strip (not shown) circumscribes the outer lower periphery 628 of the flap 620, including the lower periphery of the tab 625 and neck 626, which is substantially co-planar with the frame 640.

The hinge arrangement 630 is similar to that described for the third embodiment, mutatis mutandis, and in particular comprises a hemi-cylindrical configuration which is deformable to enable the flap 620 to be displaced in the forwards direction with respect to the frame 640, as will become clearer hereinbelow.

The major difference between this embodiment and the third embodiment lies in that the fifth embodiment does not comprise an additional tab joined to the front strip 646 via fold line. While the fifth embodiment comprises two locking latches 610, these are formed on the upper side of the frame member 640, in particular the front strip 646, and advantageously situated one on either side of the neck portion 647 of the frame. In other embodiments more than two or less than two latches may be provided.

As with the third embodiment, the latches 610 are provided for reversibly locking the flap 620 with respect to the frame 640. Operation of the locking arrangement, though, is by pulling the flap 620 in the forwards direction, while still slightly open with respect to the frame 640, so that the front wall 622 overshoots the position of the latches 610, and this forward movement is permitted by the hemi-cylindrical configuration of the hinge arrangement 630 which is deformable to provide the required play, and/or by the resilience of the material from which the unit 600 is made. The flap 620 can then be lowered towards the frame 640, wherein the latches are now inside the flap 620, as illustrated in FIG. 20 b.

The latches 610 are now in a position such that they are protruding in a direction towards the inside of the cap 620 (that is, when this in the closed position), and in particular engage the inside faces of the front wall 622 in a similar manner to that described for the third embodiment, mutatis mutandis.

Thus, in the closed position, the resiliency of the hinge arrangement 630 provides a rearwards pulling force to the flap 620, pressing the front wall 622 thereof against the latches 610. At the same time, the fit between the latches 610 and the front wall 622 is insufficient to prevent latches 610 from unlocking and opening up with respect to the flap 620 when a reasonable separating or opening force is applied between the flap 620 and the frame 640.

As with the third embodiment, the structure of the closure unit 600 is such that it may be advantageously formed as an integral unit of uniform thickness throughout, and may be manufactured by vacuum forming or any other suitable method that uses a suitable sheet material, typically a plastics material. In other words, the flap 620 is pivotably connected to the frame 640 via the hinge arrangement, and the closure unit 600 is formed having the flap 620 initially at a forming angle with respect to the frame 640 taken about the hinge arrangement, such that the forming angle is about 0°, and thus substantially less than 180°. Alternatively, the closure unit 600 may be manufactured using molding and injection methods, as known in the art.

When formed as an integral unit, the flap 620 is preferably joined to the frame 640 via a fracturable or otherwise separable break line 650, that extends around the periphery 628 up to but not including the hinge arrangement 630, and may similar to that described for the third embodiment, mutatis mutandis.

The underside of the frame 640 comprises an adhesive layer which enables the unit 600 to be adhered to the container 10 such as to circumscribe the opening 20, as illustrated in FIG. 19. Alternatively, the frame may be otherwise bonded to the container 10, for example by heat welding.

The dispenser-container 660 including the closure unit 600 may be used as follows. Referring to FIG. 20 a, an unused dispenser-container 660 is provided with an integrally formed closure unit 600, bonded to the container 10. In the unused and thus unopened configuration, the flap 620 is accommodated within the frame 640, wherein the tab 625 and neck portion 626 are in registry with the aperture 645 and the neck portion 647, respectively.

At the first use, and referring to FIG. 19, in order to first open the unit 600 the user detaches the flap 620 from the frame 640, tearing any connection that there may be in the break line 650. In such a case, the fracturable break lines 650 also serve as a factory seal and tamper proof evidence that the container-dispenser 660 has not been opened. The flap 620 may then be fully opened, and the flap may be retained in the open position by means of the projections 629, in a similar manner to the previously described embodiments.

Referring to FIG. 20 b, in order to close the closure unit 600, the flap 620 is brought into close proximity to the frame 640 and at the same time pulled in the forward direction until the front wall 622 overshoots the latches 610, whereupon, the flap can be fully lowered onto the frame 640. By means of the resilience of the hinge arrangement 630, the flap 620 is pulled back towards the hinge arrangement 630, enabling the latches to engage with the inside surface of the front wall 622, and this maintains the flap 620 in the closed position.

To open the closure unit 600, after it has been opened for the first time, and then subsequently closed as described above, the user can then pull the flap 620 slightly forwards and upwards by means of the tab 625 to disengage the flap 620 from the latches 610. The closure unit 600 may then be alternately opened as closed when desired.

As with the aforementioned embodiments, mutatis mutandis, the closure unit 600 may optionally be provided as a stand-alone unit, that is adapted as a retrofit device for any suitable container, or indeed as a general purpose closure device for an opening.

A typical dispenser-container according to a sixth embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 21 to 23 and comprises all the elements and features of the third embodiment, mutatis mutandis, with the differences that will become apparent in the description that follows. The dispenser-container, generally designated 960, comprises a resealable container 10, as already described for the first embodiment, mutatis mutandis, having an internal space that is filled with articles to be dispensed, such as tissues and the like via opening 20. According to the sixth embodiment, the container comprises a closure unit 900 for reversibly sealably closing the dispensing aperture 20. Thus, the closure unit 900 comprises a cover, cap or flap 920 pivotably connected to a frame 940 via hinge arrangement 930. The frame 940 defines an opening 949, created when the flap 920 is pivoted away from the frame 940,

The frame 940 is in a form that substantially fully circumscribes the periphery of the lid 920. Optionally, and preferably, the frame 940 comprises a C-shaped raised rib structure 970, that also circumscribes a portion of the flap 920. The frame 940 typically follows the plan shape of the flap, and in the illustrated embodiment is substantially rectangular, having a front strip 946 and a rear strip 942 each joined to two side strips 944 at the transverse ends thereof. Similarly, the flap 920 is also typically rectangular and may be substantially similar to that of the third embodiment, and thus comprises an open box-like structure, having an upper panel 921, front wall 922, side walls 923, rear wall 924 and rounded corner portions 927. Optionally, text, a logo, symbols and so on may be embossed on the panel 921, comprising, for example, the manufacturer's name and/or a trademark used in conjunction with the unit, the dispenser 960 or the wipes comprised therein. In the illustrated embodiment, the front wall 922 and the rear wall 924 are each longer than each of the side walls 923, but the reverse may be the case, or alternatively the flap member 920 may comprise any suitable shape, for example elliptical. Optionally, a border strip (not shown) circumscribes the outer periphery of the flap 920, and is substantially co-planar with the frame 940. Alternatively, the flap 920 meets the frame 940 at an angle, for example 90°. The flap 920 comprises a finger-grasping portion, which in the illustrated embodiment in the form of a button 990 located in a recess 925 formed on the upper panel 921, and also includes a tab 953.

The hinge arrangement 930 is similar in form and function to that of the third embodiment, mutatis mutandis, and similarly, the flap 920 comprises projections 929, one at either side of the hinge arrangement 930, for maintaining the flap in the open position.

A fold line 916 separates the tab 935 from the front strip 946, and enables the tab 935 to be folded under the front strip 946 and locked in place with respect thereto by any suitable means, for example by bonding or heat welding the tab 935 to the front strip 946.

The closure unit 900 of the sixth embodiment comprises a locking arrangement 980, similar in some respects to the locking arrangement of the third embodiment, for reversibly locking the flap 920 with respect to the frame 940 in a substantially sealing manner. The locking arrangement 980 according to this embodiment comprises one projecting tooth-like locking latch 910 carried on a tab 935, although in other embodiments more than one latch may be provided, mutatis mutandis. The latch 910 is provided for reversibly locking the flap 920 with respect to the frame 940, and for this purpose is aligned and selectively engages with the inside of the button 990, which also acts as a complementary latch member.

Thus, the latch 910 is located on the tab 935 in a position such that when the tab 935 is folded under the front strip 946, the latch is protruding in an outwards direction substantially orthogonal to the plane of the frame 940, and aligned with the button 990. In the illustrated embodiment, the latch 910 has a shape such that the cross-section thereof increases slightly with distance away from the tab 935. For example, at least the front and rear walls 912 of the latch 910 (when the tab is in the folded position) are inclined slightly away from the vertical. Typically this inclination may comprise an angle γ taken from the vertical 999 (orthogonal to the plane of the front strip 946) of, for example between about 2 to about 7 degrees, though angle γ may be greater than 7 degrees or less than 2 degrees, typically depending on the resiliency of the material from which the unit 900 is made, and in particular engages the inner complementary faces 992 of the button 990, as illustrated in particular in FIGS. 22 a and 22 b.

In particular, this arrangement allows the latch 910 to be selectively and reversibly positively locked with respect to the button 990, and the latch 990 may thus comprise at least one protrusion of increasing cross-section in a direction away from said frame member when in the closed position. At the same time, the button, which acts as a second, complementary latching member, comprises a recess of increasing cross-section in a direction away from said frame member when in the closed position, at least a portion of said recess being complementary to a portion of said protrusion. Typically, at least one of said portion of said recess and said portion of said protrusion are elastically deformable to permit selective locking of said first latching member with said second latching member.

Thus, the button 990 is engaged by the latch 910, and this maintains and locks the flap 920 in a closed position with respect to the frame 940. At the same time, the fit between the faces 992 and 912 is insufficient to prevent latch 910 from unlocking and opening up with respect to the flap 920 when a reasonable separating force is applied by the user between the flap 920 and the frame 940.

As with the third embodiment, the structure of the closure unit 900 is such that it may be advantageously formed as an integral unit of uniform thickness throughout, or alternatively of varying thicknesses, and may be manufactured by vacuum forming, heat forming, or any other suitable method that uses a suitable sheet material, typically a plastics material, which may be of constant thickness or varying thickness, as required. In other words, the flap 920 is pivotably connected to the frame 940 via the hinge arrangement, and the closure unit 900 is formed having the flap 920 initially at a forming angle with respect to the frame 940 taken about the hinge arrangement, such that the forming angle is less than 180°, typically about 0°. Alternatively, the closure unit 900 may be manufactured using molding and injection methods, as known in the art.

It is also clear that the closure unit 900 is initially formed, i.e., with the flap 920 still connected to the frame 940, and with the tab 935 still unfolded, in a manner such that substantially no part of said flap 920 substantially overlaps any part of the frame 940 in a direction substantially perpendicular to the opening 949 formed in the frame 940.

While the faces 912 and 992 are sloping at acute angles with respect to the surrounding frame 940, these angles with respect to a vertical datum are typically small, and thus the natural elasticity of the material from which the unit 900 is formed is sufficient to remove the button 990 and the latch 910 when formed over suitable molds, which thus do not require to be dismantled in any way in order to retrieve the unit 900.

When formed as an integral unit, the flap 920 is joined to the frame 940 via a fracturable or otherwise separable break line 950, in the form of a “C”, excluding the hinge means 930. The break line 950 thus extends from one end of the pivot line of the hinge means 930, between the frame 940 and the border strip 928, and to the other end of the pivot line of the hinge means 930. The break line 950 may be perforated, or pre-weakened, or formed with substantially less material than the surrounding parts of the flap 920 or frame 940, and thus tear or break when a predetermined lifting force is applied to the flap 920 with respect to the frame 940 for the first time. Optimally, such a lifting force is set to be within the range of forces that can normally be applied by an average adult without over-exertion, while not being so low that simple mishandling of the dispenser-container 90 would generally cause the break lines 950 to tear. Alternatively, the unit 900 may be provided with a break line 950 that is already fully perforated.

In this embodiment, the break line 950 at the front part of the flap 920 extends beyond the fold line 910, and thus, when the tab 935 is folded, a front part 952 of the break line is torn, exposing a narrow pulling tab 953. The tab 935 is thus folded about two portions of the fold line 910, one on each side of the puling tab 953. The pulling tab 953 projects forward of the frame 940, after the tab 935 has been folded, and provides a finger grasping portion that enables the flap 920 to be torn away from the frame at the remaining portions of the break lines 950, and for subsequently re-opening the flap. When the unit 900 is initially formed, i.e., prior to tab 935 being folded under said frame 940, no part of the pulling tab 953 overlaps any part of the frame 940.

The exposed part underside of the frame 940 and the underside of the tab 935, when this is bonded to the frame 940, optionally comprise an adhesive layer which enables these parts of the unit 900 to be adhered to the container 10 such as to circumscribe the opening 20, as illustrated in FIG. 23. Alternatively, these parts may be otherwise bonded to the container 10, for example by heat welding.

Although the closure unit 900 according to this embodiment is initially formed with the tab 935 extending away from the flap in the position illustrated in FIG. 21 it is typically provided to consumers with the tab 935 already folded under and bonded or otherwise joined to the front strip 946. The closure unit 900 is also typically bonded in this configuration to the container 10 before it reaches the customer. Alternatively, the closure unit 900 may be provided as a separate unit, to be mounted to the container 10 by the customer.

In any case, the closure unit 900 is typically manufactured initially in the form illustrated in FIG. 21, i.e., with the tab unfolded, and the flap 920 connected to the frame 940 along lines 950. The tab 935 is then rotated and folded back about line 916, and glued, bonded, welded or otherwise joined to the underside of the frame 940, particularly the front strip 946, as illustrated in FIGS. 22 a and 22 b.

The dispenser-container 960 including the closure unit 900 may be used as follows. Referring to FIG. 21, an unused dispenser-container 960 is provided with an integrally formed closure unit 900, bonded to the container 10 via the underside of tab 935 and part of the underside of frame 940.

To open the closure unit 900, the user can then pull the button 990 free of the latch 910 to disengage the flap 920 from the latch 910 and from the frame 940. This disengagement is permitted by the elasticity of the button 990 and/or the latch 910. The flap 940 can then assume the open position illustrated in FIG. 23, wherein the projections 929 maintain the flap in the open position. The flap 920 may be closed by rotating the flap back to its original position, and engaging the faces 929 of the flap 920 with latch 910.

The break lines 950 also serve as a factory seal and tamper proof evidence that the container-dispenser 960 has not been opened, since, for the first use of the unit 900, the user pulls the flap 920 away from the frame 940, thereby tearing away the break lines 950, and separating the flap 920 from the frame 940 up to but not including the hinge line of the hinge means 930. Alternatively, though less preferable, it is also possible to provide the unit 900 to the consumer with the flap 920 already separated from the frame 940.

As with the third embodiment, mutatis mutandis, the closure unit 900 may optionally be provided as a stand-alone unit, that is adapted as a retrofit device for any suitable container, or indeed as a general purpose closure device for an opening. In such a case, the closure unit 900 is optionally provided with a layer of adhesive, preferably covered with a peelable cover (not shown).

While the first through sixth embodiments have been described as having a substantially rectangularly-shaped cover or flap, and correspondingly shaped frame, it is clear that the flap may have any other shape, including polygonal, circular, elliptical, irregular, sinusoidal and so on, mutatis mutandis.

A typical dispenser-container according to a seventh embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 24 to 29. The dispenser-container, generally designated 760, comprises a resealable container 10, substantially as already described for the first embodiment, mutatis mutandis, having an internal space that is filled with articles to be dispensed, such as tissues and the like via opening 20. According to the seventh embodiment, the container comprises a closure unit 700 for reversibly sealably closing the dispensing aperture 20. Thus, the closure unit 700 comprises a cover, cap or flap 720 pivotably connected to a frame 740 via hinge arrangement 730.

The flap 720 is typically quasi elliptical or shell-like in plan view, though it may be any other shape, for example as described for the other embodiments herein, mutatis mutandis. The flap 720 comprises an open box-like structure, having an upper panel 721 and curved peripheral wall 723 and flat rear wall 724 joined to the panel 721. In the illustrated embodiment, the major axis 790 of the flap (when viewed in plan view) is substantially parallel to the rear wall 724, but in other embodiments, the major axis may be perpendicular to the rear wall 724. Furthermore, the flap 720 may optionally comprise substantially rounded concave corner portions 727 near the rear wall 724. The flap 720 comprises a finger-grasping portion, which in the illustrated embodiment in the form of a lower tab 725 and semi-cylindrical dimple or recess 722 formed on the front part of peripheral wall 723.

The frame 740 is in a form that substantially fully circumscribes the periphery of the lid 720, and is thus at least in part substantially elliptical. The frame 740 comprises a raised rib-like structure 750 which comprises a curved portion 752 having an inner profile substantially complementary to the outer periphery of the peripheral wall 723, and a planar section 754 corresponding to the rear wall 724. The rib structure thus circumscribes the flap 720, when this is in the closed position as will be described further herein, and circumscribes the inner edge 744 of the frame 740.

The hinge arrangement 730 pivotably attaches the rear wall 724 of flap 720 to the planar section 754 of the rib structure 750 of the frame 740. Optionally, the hinge arrangement 730 comprises a so-called ‘integral hinge’, allowing the flap 720 to deform and rotate about the hinge. Preferably, and as illustrated in FIGS. 27 to 29, a ‘film hinge’ is provided at 730, in which case the thickness of material at the film hinge, particularly at the pivoting axis thereof, is a little less than that of the frame 740, and thus enables the cover flap 720 to preferentially pivot about this hinge. According to another embodiment (not shown), the hinge may be a non-integral hinge, e.g. formed from one or more thin strips of material suitably bonded to the frame 740 and the flap 720.

The closure unit 700 of the seventh embodiment comprises a locking arrangement 780 for reversibly locking the flap 720 with respect to the frame 740 in a substantially sealing manner. The locking arrangement 780 according to this embodiment comprises the free leading edge 728 of the tab 725 and a complementary lip 785 comprised on the front part of the rib structure 750, the lip 785 projecting from the rib structure 750 in a rearwards direction towards the hinge arrangement 730. When it is desired to close the flap 720, this is rotated about the hinge arrangement 730, until the leading edge 728 is snapped into position below the lip 785. When it is desired to open the closure unit 700, the user presses the recess 722 in a direction towards the hinge arrangement 730. The resilience of the closure unit 700, and/or the play allowed for in the hinge arrangement 730, allow the leading edge 728 to be disengaged from the lip 785, and thus the flap 720 may be opened.

The closure unit 700 is particularly characterized in that it may be manufactured using mold injection techniques, but with the advantage that this is done using molds that are substantially smaller than those of the prior art, which reduces cost and provides other advantages. Specifically, the closure unit 700 may be injected molded in an ajar position, as illustrated in FIGS. 25, 27 and 29, wherein the lid is at a forming angle α, herein also referred to as the “injection position angle”, with respect to the frame 740. According to this embodiment, angle α is greater than 0° and less than 180°. Typically, α is between about 5° and about 90°, or between about 10° and about 80°, and optionally about 15°.

The mold injection process may carried out using an upper mold part and a lower mold part, which when they come together define an internal space corresponding to the outer surfaces of the closure unit 700. When a plastic or other suitable flowable material is allowed to fill this space using a suitable injection technique, and then allowed to cool, a closure unit 700 according to the invention is produced. According to this embodiment, the angle α is such that all the internal surfaces of the frame 740 and the flap 720 are presented as concavities, with all such surfaces being at an angle not greater than 90° to the horizontal. Furthermore, angle α is such that no portion of the frame 740 overlaps with the flap 720 in the vertical direction. In fact, angle α is such that no portion of the unit 700 overlaps with the any other portion of the unit 700 in the vertical direction. At the same time, angle α is kept as small as possible.

In the present embodiment, since the flap 720 is molded at an acute angle with respect to the frame 740, the plan area of the mold is about half of what it would need to be if the flap 720 were at 180° to the frame 740. Another advantage of molding the closure arrangement 700 in the ajar position is that it requires a much simpler operation to close the same at the factory when attaching the unit to a package 10—in this case only a shutting operation is required by applying a vertical closing force to the flap 720. In the prior art, the flap needs to be rotated by 180° and then closed.

Alternatively, and as with the first embodiment, the structure of the closure unit 700 is also such that it may be advantageously formed as an integral unit of uniform thickness throughout, and may also be manufactured by vacuum forming or any other suitable method that uses a suitable sheet material, typically a plastics material.

The underside of the frame 740 comprises an adhesive layer which enable these parts of the unit 700 to be adhered to the container 10 such as to circumscribe the opening 20, as illustrated in FIG. 24. Alternatively, these parts may be otherwise bonded to the container 10, for example by heat welding.

The closure unit 700 according to this embodiment is typically provided already closed and bonded in this configuration to the container 10 before it reaches the customer. Alternatively, the closure unit 700 may be provided as a separate unit, to be mounted to the container 10 by the customer.

Operation of the dispenser-container 760 including the closure unit 700 is as follows. To open the closure unit 700, the user can then push the recess 722 until the leading edge 728 of the flap 720 is disengaged from the lip 785, after which the flap 720 is rotated to the open position illustrated in FIG. 24. The flap 720 may be closed by rotating the flap back to its original position, and engaging the leading edge 725 of the flap 720 with lip 785.

As with the first embodiment, mutatis mutandis, the closure unit 700 may optionally be provided as a stand-alone unit, that is adapted as a retrofit device for any suitable container, or indeed as a general purpose closure device for an opening.

A typical dispenser-container according to an eighth embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 30 to 37. The dispenser-container, generally designated 860, comprises a resealable container 10, substantially as already described for the first embodiment, mutatis mutandis, having an internal space that is filled with articles to be dispensed, such as tissues and the like via opening 20. According to the eighth embodiment, the container comprises a closure unit 800 for reversibly sealably closing the dispensing aperture 20. Thus, the closure unit 800 comprises a cover, cap or flap 820 pivotably connected to a frame 840 via hinge arrangement 830.

The flap 820 is typically quasi elliptical or shell-like in plan view, for example as described for the seventh embodiment, mutatis mutandis, though it may be any other shape, for example as described for the other embodiments herein, mutatis mutandis. Thus, for example, flap 820 comprises an open box-like structure, having an upper panel 821 and curved peripheral wall 823 and flat rear wall 824 joined to the panel 821. In the illustrated embodiment, the major axis 890 of the flap (when viewed in plan view) is substantially parallel to the rear wall 824, but in other embodiments, the major axis may be perpendicular to the rear wall 824. Furthermore, the flap 820 may optionally comprise substantially rounded concave corner portions 827 near the rear wall 824. The flap 820 comprises a finger-grasping portion, which in the illustrated embodiment in the form of a hood-shaped portion 825 comprising finger-tip recess 822 formed on the front part of peripheral wall 823.

The frame 840 is in a form that substantially fully circumscribes the periphery of the lid 820, and is thus at least in part substantially elliptical. The frame 840 comprises a raised rib-like structure 850 which comprises a curved portion 852 having an inner profile substantially complementary to the outer periphery of the peripheral wall 823, and a planar section 854 corresponding to the rear wall 824. The rib structure thus circumscribes the flap 820, when this is in the closed position as will be described further herein, and circumscribes the inner edge 844 of the frame 840.

The hinge arrangement 830 pivotably attaches the rear wall 824 of flap 820 to the planar section 854 of the rib structure 850 of the frame 840. Optionally, the hinge arrangement 830 comprises a so-called ‘integral hinge’, allowing the flap 820 to deform and rotate about the hinge. Preferably, and as illustrated in FIGS. 30, 32, a ‘film hinge’ is provided at 830, in which case the thickness of material at the film hinge, particularly at the pivoting axis thereof, is a little less than that of the frame 840, and thus enables the cover flap 820 to preferentially pivot about this hinge. According to another embodiment (not shown), the hinge may be a non-integral hinge, e.g. formed from one or more thin strips of material suitably bonded to the frame 840 and the flap 820.

The closure unit 800 of the eighth embodiment comprises a locking arrangement 880 for reversibly locking the flap 820 with respect to the frame 840 in a substantially sealing manner. The locking arrangement 880 according to this embodiment comprises a pair of tabs 885, one each comprised on either side of the portion 825 and joined to the lower edge of the front part of peripheral wall 823.

As best seen in FIGS. 34, 36, 37, in the closed position of the flap 820 with respect to the frame 840, the tabs 885 underlie corresponding portions 887 of the rib structure 850, and each tab 885 comprises one, preferably two, and optionally more than two projections 886. Prior to first use, the projections 885 are integrally joined to the underside of the rib structure 850, and these may serve as guarantee point. To use the closure unit for the first time the user urges the flap 820 towards the container 10, and thus away from the frame 840, severing the connection between the projections 886 and the rib structure 840. When it is desired to open the closure unit 800, the flap is pulled upwards by means of the portion 825, and the resilience of the tabs 885 and flap 820 enables these to temporarily deform as the tabs 885 maneuver around the rib structure in contact therewith. Preferably, the flap 820 is first pushed in a rearwards direction towards the hinge arrangement 830 so that the tabs 885 clear the frame member 840, before lifting the flap 820 clear of the frame 840. When it is desired to close the flap 820, this is rotated about the hinge arrangement 830, until the tabs 885 are snapped into position below the rib structure 850. When it is desired to open the closure unit 800, the user presses the portion 825 upwards, or first in a direction towards the hinge arrangement 830. The resilience of the closure unit 800, and/or the play allowed for in the hinge arrangement 830, allow the tabs 885 to be disengaged from the rib structure 850, and thus the flap 820 may be opened.

As with the seventh embodiment, the closure unit 800 is particularly characterized in that it may be manufactured using mold injection techniques, but with the advantage that this is done using molds that are substantially smaller than those of the prior art, which reduces cost and provides other advantages. Specifically, the closure unit 800 may be injected molded in a substantially closed position, as illustrated in FIGS. 31 and 34, wherein the lid is joined to the rib structure 850 via the hinge arrangement 830 at one side, and the projections 886 on the other.

The mold injection process may carried out using an upper mold part and a lower mold part, which when they come together define an internal space corresponding to the volume defined by the outer surfaces of the closure unit 800. When a plastic or other suitable flowable material is allowed to fill this space using a suitable injection technique, and then allowed to cool, a closure unit 800 according to the invention is produced. According to this embodiment, the internal surfaces of the frame 840 and the flap 820 are presented as concavities, with all such surfaces being at an angle not greater than 90° to the horizontal. Furthermore, except for part of the tabs 885, no portion of the frame 840 overlaps with the flap 820 in the vertical direction, and a gap 889 is formed between the periphery of the flap 820 and the rib structure 850. In fact, other than the tabs 885 and the corresponding engaging portion 887 on the underside of the rib structure 850, no other portions of the unit 800 overlap with the any other portion of the unit 800 in the vertical direction, i.e., normal to the plane of the frame 840.

A limited amount of overlapping in the vertical direction, between parts of the flap 820 and the frame 840, i.e., between the tabs 885 and the corresponding engaging portions 887, is possible due to the resilience of the material from which the closure unit 800 is made. Such a material typically comprises a plastic, such as for example polypropylene or polyethylene, which can deform to a limited degree when force is applied. Thus, although the parts of the molds required for the molding of the tabs 885 and the corresponding engaging portion 887 also overlap, once cooled the closure unit 800 can be removed from the mold by forcing a partial and temporary deformation of the tabs 885 and/or the corresponding engaging portion 887 to free these components from the molds.

Thus when referring herein to one component as not substantially overlapping with respect to another component, this is herein taken to include the plain meaning, wherein there is no actual overlapping, and also to optionally include cases wherein there is a limited amount of actual overlapping, but such as still permits the closure unit to be removed from the mold by making use of the resilience of the material from which the closure unit is made to maneuver the overlapping parts around parts of the molds to enable the closure unit to be freed therefrom.

Typically, the overlapping portions between the tabs 885 and the corresponding engaging portion 887, indicated at OP in FIG. 37, may represent a plan area that is between 0-5% of the plan area of the closure unit 800, more typically less than 1% thereof.

In the present embodiment, since the flap 820 is molded in the closed position with respect to the frame 840, the plan area of the mold is about half of what it would need to be if the flap 820 were at 180° to the frame 840.

Thus, the flap 820 is pivotably connected to the frame 840 via the hinge arrangement, and the closure unit 800 is formed having the flap 820 initially at a forming angle with respect to the frame 840 taken about the hinge arrangement, such that the forming angle is about 0°, and thus substantially less than 180°.

Another advantage of molding the closure arrangement 800 in the closed position is that it is ready to be attached to the unit to a package 10—in the prior art, the flap needs to be rotated by 180° and then closed prior to attachment.

Alternatively, and as with the first embodiment, the structure of the closure unit 800 is also such that it may be advantageously formed as an integral unit of uniform thickness throughout, and may also be manufactured by vacuum forming or any other suitable method that uses a suitable sheet material, typically a plastics material.

The underside of the frame 840 comprises an adhesive layer which enable these parts of the unit 800 to be adhered to the container 10 such as to circumscribe the opening 20, as illustrated in FIG. 30. Alternatively, these parts may be otherwise bonded to the container 10, for example by heat welding.

The closure unit 800 according to this embodiment is typically provided already closed and bonded in this configuration to the container 10 before it reaches the customer. Alternatively, the closure unit 800 may be provided as a separate unit, to be mounted to the container 10 by the customer.

As has been described above, operation of the dispenser-container 860 including the closure unit 800 is as follows. To open the closure unit 800, the user can then push the portion 825 until the tabs 885 are disengaged from the rib structure 850, after which the flap 820 is rotated to the open position illustrated in FIG. 30. The flap 820 may be closed by rotating the flap back to its original position, and engaging the tabs 885 with the underside of the rib structure 850.

As with the first embodiment, mutatis mutandis, the closure unit 800 may optionally be provided as a stand-alone unit, that is adapted as a retrofit device for any suitable container, or indeed as a general purpose closure device for an opening.

The present invention also relates to a mold for producing said closure unit of the present invention. The mold may be adapted for vacuum forming the closure unit from sheet material, typically thin plastic material. Alternatively, the mold may be adapted for forming the closure unit by the injection of a suitable molten plastic or other suitable material.

It should be noted that the word “comprising” as used throughout the appended claims is to be interpreted to mean “including but not limited to”.

While there has been shown and disclosed exemplary embodiments in accordance with the invention, it will be appreciated that many changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7621401 *Apr 19, 2006Nov 24, 2009The Procter & Gamble CompanyContainer suitable for wet wipes and a corresponding refill pack with compatibility lock and compatibility actuator
US8245865May 16, 2006Aug 21, 2012Nutek Disposables, Inc.Dispenser lid including a secondary lid and container including the same
US8403167May 16, 2007Mar 26, 2013Nutek Disposables, Inc.Dispenser lid with biasing pin and container including the same
US8602244 *Jun 29, 2012Dec 10, 2013Clear Lam Packaging, Inc.Flexible, stackable sealed package having corner seals and formed from a sheet of film
US20110303663 *Oct 29, 2009Dec 15, 2011Takeshi BandohOpenable and closable container
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EP2499063A1 *Aug 26, 2010Sep 19, 2012Michael John GordonA lid for a soft packdispensing container of wipes
WO2008017939A1 *Aug 3, 2007Feb 14, 2008O Pac S R LClosing device for a container for disposable tissues
WO2009021156A2 *Aug 8, 2008Feb 12, 2009Clear Lam Packaging IncFlexible, stackable container and method and system for manufacturing same
WO2010054226A2 *Nov 6, 2009May 14, 2010Clear Lam Packaging, Inc.Flexible, stackable container and method and system for manufacturing same
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WO2013188196A1 *Jun 6, 2013Dec 19, 2013The Procter & Gamble CompanyMaterial for forming dispensing cartons
Classifications
U.S. Classification221/35, 221/46, 221/63
International ClassificationB65D85/30, B65H1/00, B65D75/58, B65D85/57, B65D83/08, A47K10/24, B65D85/575
Cooperative ClassificationB65D75/5877, B65D75/5838, B65D83/0805
European ClassificationB65D75/58E1A, B65D83/08B, B65D75/58G3A
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 15, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: ALBAAD MASSUOT YITZHAK LTD., ISRAEL
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:CHASID, SHLOMIT;ZAIDMAN, URI;REEL/FRAME:016281/0852
Effective date: 20050102