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Publication numberUS20050274782 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/865,559
Publication dateDec 15, 2005
Filing dateJun 10, 2004
Priority dateJun 10, 2004
Publication number10865559, 865559, US 2005/0274782 A1, US 2005/274782 A1, US 20050274782 A1, US 20050274782A1, US 2005274782 A1, US 2005274782A1, US-A1-20050274782, US-A1-2005274782, US2005/0274782A1, US2005/274782A1, US20050274782 A1, US20050274782A1, US2005274782 A1, US2005274782A1
InventorsJ. Petrelli, Daniel Nelson
Original AssigneePetrelli J A, Nelson Daniel J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Blank capable of forming a container having an integral pour spout
US 20050274782 A1
Abstract
A packaging blank capable of forming a reclosable container comprises in one embodiment a front panel having opposing side panels, a rear panel connected to the front panel by the second side panel, a top panel connected to a top edge of the front panel, a bottom panel connected to a bottom edge of the front panel, and a pour spout flap connected to a top edge of the second side panel. Upon construction the packaging blank provides a reclosable container having an integral pour spout that is releasably securable to a portion of the top panel. Still further, the invention relates to a method of forming the container and a method of packaging articles in the container.
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Claims(33)
1. A packaging blank that is capable of forming a reclosable container, said blank comprising:
a substantially rectangular front panel having opposing first and second side panels;
a substantially rectangular rear panel connected to said front panel by said second side panel;
at least one top panel connected to a top edge of said front panel;
at least one bottom panel connected to a bottom edge of said front panel; and
a pour spout flap connected to a top edge of said second side panel, said pour spout flap having a detachable pour spout tab;
wherein said blank is capable of being folded such that a portion of said top panel releasably engages a residual pour spout connected to said second side panel when said pour spout tab is detached from said pour spout flap.
2. A packaging blank according to claim 1, wherein said packaging blank consists essentially of a one-piece blank.
3. A packaging blank according to claim 2, wherein said one-piece blank has an external planar side and an internal planar side, said external planar side being finished.
4. A packaging blank according to claim 1, wherein said packaging blank comprises paperboard.
5. A packaging blank according to claim 1, wherein said top panel includes a detachable sealing tab positioned at a free edge of said top panel and adjacent to said pour spout flap, said detachable sealing tab defined by perforations.
6. A packaging blank according to claim 1, wherein said pour spout flap includes a pull tab positioned at a free edge of said pour spout flap, said pull tab facilitating the removal of said detachable pour spout tab from said pour spout flap upon construction of the container.
7. A packaging blank according to claim 1, wherein said pour spout flap consists of said detachable pour spout tab, said residual pour spout, and a pull tab positioned at a free edge of said pour spout flap.
8. A packaging blank according to claim 1, further comprising:
a first top flap connected to a top edge of said first side panel; and
a first bottom flap connected to a bottom edge of said first side panel.
9. A packaging blank according to claim 1, further comprising a second bottom flap connected to a bottom edge of said second side panel.
10. A packaging blank according to claim 1, further comprising a glue flap connected to an edge of said rear panel opposite the edge to which said second side panel is connected.
11. A packaging blank that is capable of forming a reclosable container having an integral pour spout, said blank comprising:
a substantially rectangular front panel having opposing first and second side panels;
a substantially rectangular rear panel connected to said front panel by said second side panel;
a first top panel connected to a top edge of said front panel;
a second top panel connected to a top edge of said rear panel;
a first bottom panel connected to a bottom edge of said front panel;
a second bottom panel connected to a bottom edge of said rear panel; and
a pour spout flap connected to a top edge of said second side panel, said pour spout flap having a detachable pour spout tab positioned at a free edge of said pour spout flap;
wherein said blank is capable of being folded to form a residual pour spout that is releasably secured between said first and second top panels when said detachable pour spout tab is detached from said pour spout flap.
12. A packaging blank according to claim 11, wherein said packaging blank has an external planar side and an internal planar side, said external planar side being finished.
13. A packaging blank according to claim 11, wherein said packaging blank comprises paperboard.
14. A packaging blank according to claim 11, wherein:
said first top panel defines an opening adjacent to said pour spout flap; and
said second top panel defines an opening adjacent to said pour spout flap such that said first top panel opening and said second top panel opening are in communication upon construction of the container.
15. A packaging blank according to claim 14, wherein said first top panel includes a tab lock positioned adjacent to said first top panel opening and spaced apart from said pour spout flap such that said tab lock is positioned to releasably engage a portion of said pour spout flap upon construction of the container.
16. A packaging blank according to claim 14, wherein said first top panel includes:
a detachable sealing tab occupying said first top panel opening, said sealing tab connected to said first top panel by perforations; and
a tab lock defined by said perforations, said tab lock positioned adjacent to said detachable sealing tab and spaced apart from said pour spout flap such that removal of said detachable sealing tab permits said tab lock to releasably engage a portion of said pour spout flap upon construction of the container.
17. A packaging blank according to claim 11, wherein said first top panel includes at least one glue release section formed by a partial cut, said glue release section positioned to secure said pour spout flap to said first top panel upon construction of the container.
18. A packaging blank according to claim 11, wherein said first and second top panels are substantially rectangular.
19. A packaging blank according to claim 11, wherein said first and second bottom panels are substantially rectangular.
20. A packaging blank according to claim 11, wherein said pour spout flap includes a pull tab connected to said detachable pour spout tab, said pull tab facilitating the removal of said detachable pour spout tab from said pour spout flap upon construction of the container.
21. A packaging blank according to claim 20, wherein said pull tab is defined by at least one score line in said pour spout flap.
22. A packaging blank according to claim 11, wherein said pour spout flap and said second side panel include score lines that facilitate the formation of said residual pour spout upon construction of the container.
23. A packaging blank according to claim 11, wherein said detachable pour spout tab and said residual pour spout are defined by perforations in said pour spout flap such that removal of said detachable pour spout tab forms said residual pour spout.
24. A packaging blank according to claim 11, wherein said residual pour spout is substantially polygonal in shape and having at least two parallel edges.
25. A packaging blank according to claim 11, wherein said residual pour spout having a distal edge that forms an apex of said pour spout.
26. A packaging blank according to claim 11, wherein said residual pour spout is substantially triangular in shape.
27. A packaging blank according to claim 11, further comprising:
a first top flap connected to a top edge of said first side panel;
wherein at least a portion of said second top panel is debossed such that a portion of said first top flap correspondingly engages said debossed portion upon construction of the container to thereby form a seal.
28. A packaging blank according to claim 27, wherein said first top flap is substantially trapezoidal in shape.
29. A packaging blank according to claim 11, further comprising:
a first bottom flap connected to a bottom edge of said first side panel; and
a second bottom flap connected to a bottom edge of said second side panel.
30. A packaging blank according to claim 29, wherein said first and second bottom flaps are substantially trapezoidal in shape.
31. A packaging blank according to claim 29, wherein at least a portion of said first bottom panel is embossed such that a portion of said first and second bottom flaps correspondingly engages said embossed portion upon construction of the container to thereby form a seal.
32. A packaging blank according to claim 29, wherein at least a portion of said second bottom panel is debossed such that a portion of said first and second bottom flaps correspondingly engages said debossed portion upon construction of the container to thereby form a seal.
33. A packaging blank according to claim 11, further comprising a glue flap connected to an edge of said rear panel opposite the edge to which said second side panel is connected.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a packaging blank. In particular, the invention relates to a packaging blank for use in automated processes that is capable of forming a reclosable container having an integral pour spout that is reclosable. The invention further relates to a reclosable container formed from the blank having a tab lock that releasably engages an integral pour spout. Still further, the invention relates to a method of forming from the blank a container having enhanced sealing qualities.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

As known to those skilled in the art, packaging is typically formed from packaging blanks, or blanks for short. It will be understood that as used herein the term “blank” may include cardboard, rigid paper, flexible plastic, or similar products made of paperboard or plastic. In particular, the packaging industry favors the use of one-piece flexible blanks, which are readily incorporated into automated processes for forming containers.

Today, the initial construction of packaging blanks into containers is managed in the facilities of the blank manufacturer. For example, the blanks are formed and then at least one flap (e.g., a glue flap) is secured to at least one panel of the blank during a folding step. The steps accomplished form a substantially flat container that is capable of being formed into a substantially rectangular container. The flat, partially-constructed container is preferred for shipping purposes (i.e., space saving efficiencies for transportation). The subsequent insertion of articles to be packaged in the container is typically managed in the facilities of the article manufacturer.

Manufacturers employ a variety of automated equipment that is capable of folding the blank to form a container, inserting articles into the container, sealing the container, and then shipping the container by various means of transportation. For example, manufacturers use in-line processes for accomplishing the steps of folding, inserting, sealing, and shipping as described above. For the sake of economic efficiencies, manufacturers prefer the use of paperboard blanks during automated processes. Thus, there is a need for providing a packaging blank that is capable of being formed into a container in automated processes (e.g., in-line processes).

The rising popularity of blanks capable of forming containers having integral pour spouts has created a problem for manufacturers. These types of containers are most suitable for packaging foodstuffs such as cereals, baby formula, and other granular type products. Known containers having reclosable pour spouts are formed from paperboard blanks and additional mediums such as plastic or metal. Specifically, the paperboard blanks form the container structure and plastic, for example, forms the pour spout. Unfortunately, the requirement of mediums other than paperboard increases the costs of production for manufacturers. Stated differently, manufacturers must purchase additional material to form the pour spout instead of relying on paperboard. Thus, there is a need for a blank formed solely of, for example, paperboard that is capable of forming a container having an integral pour spout.

Moreover, the requirement for integrating additional mediums into a paperboard blank to form a pour spout creates numerous problems for manufacturers that incorporate in-line processes. The incorporation of, for example, a plastic pour spout into the blank requires that the manufacturer modify existing equipment to account for the additional step of securing the plastic pour spout to the blank. In other words, the manufacturer must incorporate additional equipment along the processing line to secure the plastic pour spout to the paperboard blank.

The modification of existing equipment is time consuming and expensive. Existing in-line processes incorporate machines that are capable of folding substantially rectangular paperboard blanks to form the container. The plastic pour spout often requires the incorporation of a plastic support panel that extends beyond the substantially rectangular shape of known blanks. Thus, there is a further need for a packaging blank capable of forming a container having an integral pour spout, wherein the blank is substantially rectangular and capable of being used on existing in-line equipment. Stated differently, there is a need for a paperboard blank having an integral spout that is “machine blind.”

As noted, containers having pour spouts are most suitable for packaging foodstuffs such as cereals and other granular type products. Known containers fail to provide a sift-proof seal, thus permitting the articles (e.g., dry baby cereal) in the container to spill out of the container at the sealed ends. Thus, there is a need for a container having a reclosable pour spout that provides superior sealing characteristics.

Further, the addition of the pour spout requires that manufacturers incorporate an additional step to the in-line process, wherein the additional step includes securing the spout formed of additional mediums (e.g., plastic) during the method of forming the container. Thus, there is still a further need for a method of packaging articles in a container having a reclosable pour spout, wherein the method is conducted along existing in-line processes.

Likewise, there exists a need for a method of forming a container having a reclosable pour spout where the container is substantially flat, yet capable of being constructed into a substantially rectangular container, wherein the blank is suitable for use on in-line processes.

Advantageously, the present invention provides a blank capable of forming a container having a reclosable pour spout, and a method of forming such a container that increases the economies of manufacturing (i.e., no additional steps) and economies of material (i.e., no additional medium).

OBJECT AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a blank suitable for use in automated processing.

Still another object of the invention is the provision of a blank formed solely of paperboard that is capable of forming a container having a reclosable pour spout.

A further object of the invention is to provide a packaging blank capable of forming a container having an integral pour spout, wherein the blank is substantially rectangular such that the blank is capable of being used on existing in-line equipment (i.e., a machine blind blank).

Another object of the invention is the provision of a container having a reclosable pour spout that provides superior sealing characteristics.

Yet another object of the invention is the provision of a method of packaging articles in the container along existing in-line processes.

Still another object of the invention is the provision of a method for forming a container having a reclosable pour spout suitable for use on in-line processes where the container is substantially flat, yet capable of being constructed into a substantially rectangular container.

The invention meets these objectives with a packaging blank capable of forming a reclosable container. In particular, the invention is a packaging blank and a container having a bottom panel, a first side panel, a second side panel, a front panel, a rear panel, at least one top panel, and a reclosable pour spout. Moreover, the invention is a method of packaging articles in a container having a reclosable pour spout and a method of forming a container having a reclosable pour spout.

The foregoing and other objects and advantages of the invention and the manner in which the same are accomplished will become clearer based on the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a container formed from a preferred embodiment of the packaging blank.

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary top plan view of the container formed from a preferred embodiment of the packaging blank.

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary perspective view of the container formed from a more preferred embodiment of the packaging blank depicting removal of the detachable pour spout tab.

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary perspective view of the container formed from the more preferred embodiment of the packaging blank depicting deformation of the front and rear panels to thereby form the pour spout.

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary perspective view of the container formed from the more preferred embodiment of the packaging blank depicting articles packaged in the container flowing through openings in the first and second top panels and over the pour spout.

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary top plan view of the container formed from the more preferred embodiment of the packaging blank taken along lines 6-6 in FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary perspective view of container formed from the more preferred embodiment of the packaging blank depicting the tab lock releasably engaging the pour spout.

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the preferred embodiment of the packaging blank.

FIGS. 9A-9D are perspective views of a method for forming the container that incorporates the preferred embodiment of the packaging blank.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which a preferred embodiment of the invention is shown. This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the embodiments set forth herein. Rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout.

As used herein, the term “panel” is used in conjunction with the packaging blank of the present invention and refers to the major component part of a folding container and defines the major partition elements of the blank or container. Those skilled in the art typically refer to panels that form the top or bottom of a container as a “major panel.” In addition, it will be understood that the term “product panel” may refer to either the front panel or rear panel. Those skilled in the art will also appreciate that panels include edges defined as the line of intersection of two surfaces or a border. A “free edge” of a panel refers to an edge that does not intersect with another surface or panel.

The term “flap” refers to a secondary container element that is typically hinge-connected along a free edge of a panel or another flap. Those skilled in the art typically refer to flaps that form, for example, dust flaps, as “minor panels.” It will be understood that the term “tab” refers to a tertiary element of the blank or container that is generally hinged to a portion of a free edge of a panel or flap, or struck from within the plane of a panel or flap. As used herein, the term “residual” refers to an element (e.g., a pour spout) resulting from a particular step of removing an adjacent element (e.g., a tab).

It will be further understood by those skilled in the art that the dimensions, or measurements for containers will be expressed in the order of length (L), width (W), and depth (D), wherein L is typically the larger dimension at the open end of the container, W is usually the smaller dimension at the open end of the container, and D is the distance between the open ends of the container (e.g., L×W×D).

Further, it will also be understood by those of skill in the art that as used herein, the concept of a panel being “between” two other panels does not necessarily imply that the three panels or flaps are contiguous (i.e., in intimate contact). Rather, as used herein, the concept of one panel being between two other panels is meant to describe the relative positions of the panels within the blank structure, respectively.

Similarly, the concept of a first panel being connected to a second panel by a third panel, “opposite” the second panel, merely describes the relative positions of the first and second panels within the blank structure. It will further be understood that the term “finished” means coated with a material to produce an attractive glossy finish. The term “finished” will also be understood to mean the inclusion of printed material or other identifying indicia (e.g., a company's logo).

It will be understood by those skilled in the art that the term “cut-score” refers to an impression formed by a cutting tool (e.g., a punch, die, or blade) that extends partially through a sheet of paperboard or the like. It will be understood by those skilled in the art that the term “perforations” refers to a series of holes or impressions formed by a cutting tool (e.g., a punch or die) that permits easy separation of, for example, panels. It will be further understood to those skilled in the art that the term “score lines” refers to a crease along which the adjacent elements of a blank are folded without cracking or breaking to form a container. Those skilled in the art will also appreciate that the term “glue release section” refers to a portion of, for example, a first panel to which an adhesive is applied such that a second panel can be secured against the panel having the glue release section and bearing the adhesive.

It will also be understood that the term “substantially rectangular” and “substantially trapezoidal” is meant to succinctly describe a simple geometric shape approximating a rectangle and trapezoid, respectively. Similarly, the term “substantially parallel” is meant to describe the spatial relationship between, for example, one edge of a panel to another edge of a panel, wherein the relationship is approximately parallel. The term “substantially polygonal” is meant to describe a simple geometric shape approximating a closed plane figure bounded by straight lines.

Those skilled in the art will also appreciate that the term “adjacent” refers to two or more, for example, panels that have a common border or are in close proximity to one another. Nevertheless, it will be understood that adjacent may or may not imply contact, but always implies the absence of anything of the same kind in between. Furthermore, as used herein, it will be understood that the term “article” will refer primarily to consumer products that are packaged for shipment (e.g., consumables, detergents, granular products, etc.). It will be understood, however, that “article” may also refer to any number of goods such as individually packaged consumables.

An overall view of a preferred embodiment of a packaging blank 10 capable of forming a reclosable container 17 which incorporates features of the present invention is set forth in FIG. 8. As depicted in FIG. 8, the packaging blank 10 includes a front panel 11, a first side panel 12, a second side panel 13, a rear panel 14, a first top panel 15, a second top panel 16, a first bottom panel 20, a second bottom panel 21, a pour spout flap 22, a residual pour spout 23, a detachable pour spout tab 30, a pull tab 42, a first top flap 24, a first bottom flap 25, and a second bottom flap 26. The blank 10 is preferably a one-piece blank made of paperboard.

With reference to FIG. 8 depicting the blank 10, the front panel 11 includes opposing first and second side panels 12,13. The rear panel 14 is connected to the front panel 11 by the second side panel 13. The first top panel 15 is connected to a top edge of the front panel 11, and the second top panel 16 is connected to a top edge of the rear panel 14. It will be understood that the blank 10 may include only one top panel 15 that is connected to the top edge of the front panel 11.

The first bottom panel 20 is connected to a bottom edge of the front panel 11. As configured, the first top panel 15 and the first bottom panel 20 are connected to opposing edges of the front panel 11. The second bottom panel 21 is connected to a bottom edge of the rear panel 14 such that the second bottom panel and the second top panel 16 are connected to opposing edges of the rear panel. It will be understood that the blank 10 may include only one bottom panel 20 that is connected to the bottom edge of the front panel 11.

The pour spout flap 22 is connected to a top edge of the second side panel 13 and includes the detachable pour spout tab 30, the residual pour spout 23, and the pull tab 42. The pull tab 42 and detachable pour spout tab 30 define free edges of the pour spout flap 22. Specifically, the pour spout flap 22 is positioned between the first top panel 15 and second top panel 16. More specifically, the pour spout tab 30 is positioned at a free edge of the pour spout flap 22. Advantageously, the blank 10 is capable of being folded such that a portion of the top panel 15 releasably engages the residual pour spout 23 when the pour spout tab 30 is detached from the pour spout flap 22. More specifically, a tab lock 31 (discussed herein) provided in the first top panel 15 engages the residual pour spout 23. Stated differently, the removal of the detachable pour spout tab 30 permits the first top panel 15 (specifically, the tab lock 31) to releasably engage the pour spout 23 when the pour spout is closed. As depicted in FIGS. 3 and 7, removal of the detachable pour spout tab 30 permits the opening and closing of the residual pour spout 23 upon construction of the container 17.

The preferred embodiment of the blank 10 also provides a pour spout flap 22 that includes the pull tab 42 positioned at a free edge of the pour spout flap. Specifically, the pull tab 42 is connected to the detachable pour spout tab 30. The pull tab 42 facilitates the removal of the detachable pour spout tab 30 from the pour spout flap 22 upon construction of the container 17. As depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2, the pull tab 42 permits a user to grasp a portion of the pour spout flap 22 and remove the detachable pour spout tab 30 from the first top panel 15. The pull tab 42 is defined by a score line 38 in the pour spout flap 22 as shown in FIG. 8. Specifically, the score line 38 defining the pull tab 42 extends from an edge of the pour spout flap 22 adjacent to the first top panel 15 to an edge of the pour spout flap adjacent to the second top panel. Thus, a preferred embodiment of the blank 10 includes a pour spout flap 22 consisting of the detachable pour spout tab 30, the residual pour spout 23, and the pull tab 42.

In the preferred embodiment of the blank 10 including the first top panel 15 and second top panel 16, the blank 10 is capable of being folded such that the residual pour spout 23 is releasably secured between the first and second top panels when the detachable pour spout tab 30 is removed from the pour spout flap 22. As specifically depicted in FIG. 7, the pour spout 23 is closed (i.e., folded downward) and situated between the first and second top panels 15,16.

The blank 10 also includes an external planar side 33 and an internal planar side 32 as shown in FIG. 8. For advertising and promotional considerations, the external planar side 33 is preferably finished (i.e., includes printed material or related identifying indicia).

In the preferred embodiment of the blank 10, the front panel 11, rear panel 14, first top panel 15, second top panel 16, first bottom panel 20, and second bottom panel 21 are substantially rectangular. The first top flap 24, and first and second bottom flaps 25,26 are preferably trapezoidal in shape. Nevertheless, it will be understood that the front panel 11, rear panel 14, first and second top panels 15,16, and first and second bottom panels 20,21 are not limited to a rectangular shape and may be trapezoidal in shape. It will also be understood that the first top flap 24, and first and second bottom flaps 25,26 are not limited to a trapezoidal shape and may be triangular or rectangular in shape.

In a more preferred embodiment, the first top panel 15 of the blank 10 defines an opening 34 adjacent to the pour spout flap 22. See FIG. 3. The second top panel 16 may likewise define an opening 35 adjacent to the pour spout flap 22. In this more preferred embodiment, the first top panel opening 34 and the second top panel opening 35 are in communication upon construction of the container 17. This configuration permits articles 18 to flow freely from the container 17.

Referring to FIGS. 3-6, the first top panel 15 includes a tab lock 31 that is positioned adjacent to the first top panel opening 34. The tab lock 31 is spaced apart from the pour spout flap 22 such that the tab lock may releasably engage a portion of the pour spout flap (i.e., residual pour spout 23) upon construction of the container 17. See FIG. 7.

A preferred embodiment of the blank 10 provides a first top panel 15 that includes an optional detachable sealing tab 40 as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 8. The sealing tab 40 occupies the first top panel opening 34 and provides an additional barrier to prevent packaged articles 18 from exiting the sealed container 17. Specifically, the optional sealing tab covers the opening 35 in the second top panel 16 upon construction of the container 17 as illustrated in FIG. 2. Stated differently, removal of the sealing tab 40 forms the first top panel opening 34 as shown more clearly on the right side of FIG. 2. The sealing tab 40 is connected to the first top panel 15 by perforations 36. Stated differently, the detachable sealing tab 40 is formed by perforations 36 in the first top panel 15. The sealing tab 40 is positioned at a free edge of the top panel 15 adjacent to the pour spout flap 22. In this preferred embodiment, the tab lock 31 of the first top panel 15 and the sealing tab 40 are each defined by perforations 36 in the blank 10. Accordingly, the tab lock 31 is positioned adjacent to the detachable sealing tab 40. The tab lock 31 is likewise spaced apart from the pour spout flap 22 such that removal of the detachable sealing tab 40 permits the tab lock 31 to releasably engage at least a portion of the pour spout flap 22 (i.e., residual pour spout 23) upon construction of the container 17 as shown in FIG. 7.

The first top panel 15 of the preferred embodiment of the blank 10 may include at least one glue release section 41 formed by a partial cut 37 in the blank 10. The glue release section 41 is preferably circular in shape, but may include any number of shapes (e.g., rectangular). The glue release section 41 is positioned to secure the pour spout flap 22 to the first top panel 15 upon construction of the sealed container 17. As illustrated in FIGS. 1, 2, and 9C-9D, the glue release section 41 supports adhesion of the detachable pour spout tab 30 to the first top panel 15 as discussed herein with reference to the container 17 formed from the blank 10.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, the pour spout flap 22 and the second side panel 13 include score lines 38 that facilitate the formation of the residual pour spout 23 upon construction of the container 17. Stated differently, the score lines 38 promote deformation of the pour spout 23 and second side panel 13 to readily configure the pour spout for pouring operations. See FIG. 5.

The detachable pour spout tab 30 and the pour spout 23 are defined by perforations 36 in the pour spout flap 22 such that removal of the detachable pour spout tab forms the residual pour spout. In a preferred embodiment, the residual pour spout 23 is substantially polygonal in shape. More preferably, the pour spout 23 is polygonal in shape, wherein at least two edges define substantially parallel edges. As depicted in FIG. 6, the residual pour spout 23 includes a distal edge that forms an apex of the pour spout. It will be understood, however, that the pour spout 23 may be substantially triangular in shape.

With reference to FIG. 8, the first top flap 24 of the blank 10 is connected to a top edge of the first side panel 12 and positioned adjacent to the first top panel 15. Embodiments of the blank 10 are provided to enhance the seals formed at the joints of the container 17 (e.g., top and bottom). Specifically, in a preferred embodiment, a portion 43 of the second top panel 16 is debossed (i.e., lowered) such that the first top flap 24 correspondingly engages the debossed portion of the second top panel upon construction of the container 17 to thereby form a sift-proof seal.

First and second bottom flaps 25,26 are also provided to enhance the structural integrity of the container 17. The first bottom flap 25 is connected to a bottom edge of the first side panel 12 and positioned adjacent to the first bottom panel 20. The second bottom flap 26 is connected to a bottom edge of the second side panel 13 and positioned between the first and second bottom panels 20,21.

Portions 44 of the first bottom panel 20 are preferably embossed (i.e., raised) such that the first and second bottom flaps 25,26 correspondingly engage the embossed portions of the first bottom panel upon construction of the container 17 to thereby form a sift-proof seal. In similar fashion, portions 45 of the second bottom panel 21 are debossed such that the first and second bottom flaps 25,26 correspondingly engage the debossed portions of the second bottom panel upon construction of the container 17 to thereby form a sift-proof seal. As configured upon construction, the corresponding engagement of the first top flap 24 with the debossed portion 43 of the second top panel 16, and the corresponding engagement of the first and second bottom flaps 25, 26 with the respective embossed and debossed portions 44,45 of the first and second bottom panels 20,21 advantageously provides a sift-proof sealed-end container 17 superior to known containers.

With respect to an alternative embodiment of the blank, it will be understood that the portions 44 of the first bottom panel 20 may be debossed and the portions 45 of the second bottom panel 21 may be embossed.

The packaging blank 10 also includes a glue flap 50 (also referred to as a manufacturer's glue joint) connected to an edge of the rear panel 14 opposite the edge to which the second side panel 13 is connected. The glue flap 50 is preferably rectangular in shape. It will be understood, however, that the glue flap 50 is not limited to a rectangular shape and may be trapezoidal in shape. [00571 Another aspect of the present invention, as illustrated in FIG. 1, includes a container 17 having an integral pour spout 23 formed from the packaging blank 10. The container 17 includes the various elements of the blank 10 as described above. For the sake of clarity, however, the blank elements are described below as incorporated into the various embodiments of the container 17. Specifically, a preferred embodiment of the container 17 includes a first bottom panel 20, a second bottom panel 21, a first side panel 12, a second side panel 13, a front panel 11, a rear panel 14, a first top panel 15, a second top panel 16, a pour spout flap 22, a pull tab 42, a detachable pour spout tab 30, a residual pour spout 23, a first top flap 24, a first bottom flap 25, and a second bottom flap 26. The container 17 is preferably formed from a one-piece blank 10 made of paperboard. It will be understood that the container 17 may include only one top panel and one bottom panel.

In the preferred embodiment of the container 17, the second bottom panel 21 is secured to an internal planar side 32 of the first bottom panel 20 such that both panels define substantially parallel planes. The first and second side panels 12,13 are likewise secured to opposing edges of the bottom panel 20 such that the side panels define substantially parallel planes. The front panel 11 is secured to the bottom panel 20 and the respective edges of the first and second side panels 12,13. The rear panel 14 is secured to the bottom panel 20 and to respective edges of the first and second side panels 12,13. As configured, the front panel 11 and rear panel 14 define substantially parallel planes.

The first top panel 15 is secured to respective edges of the front panel 11 and rear panel 14. As depicted in FIG. 6, the first top panel 15 defines an opening 34 that is adjacent to a top edge of the second side panel 13. In a preferred embodiment, the first top panel 15 includes a tab lock 31 positioned adjacent to the opening 34 in the first top panel 15 and spaced apart from the top edge of the second side panel 13. See FIG. 6. Advantageously, the opening 34 in the first top panel 15 is positioned adjacent to the pour spout 23 such that the tab lock 31 engages the pour spout upon closure. The closed configuration seals the opening in the first top panel 15. See FIG. 7.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, the first top panel 15 may also include the detachable sealing tab 40 that occupies the first top panel opening 34 and covers the second top panel opening 35 upon construction of the container 17. The sealing tab 40 is connected to the first top panel 15 by perforations 36 and positioned adjacent to the tab lock 31. Accordingly, the removal of the detachable sealing tab 40 permits the tab lock 31 to releasably engage the pour spout as shown in FIG. 7. Specifically, the tab lock 31 engages the pour spout 23 once the detachable pour spout tab 30 is removed (i.e., detached) from the first top panel 15 and the pour spout flap 22.

Referring to FIGS. 2-4, at least one glue release section 41 is provided in the first top panel 15 of the container 17. The glue release section 41 is formed by a partial cut 37 and supports adhesion of the detachable pour spout tab 30 to the first top panel 15 during initial construction. The glue release section 41 secures the detachable pour spout tab 30 to the first top panel 15 with an adhesive for shipping purposes once the container is formed and filled with articles 18. During operation of the pour spout 23 (i.e., removal of the detachable pour spout tab 30), the glue release section 41 is separated from the first top panel 15 when the detachable pour spout tab 30 is detached from the first top panel and the pour spout is opened.

As depicted in FIG. 2, the detachable sealing tab 40 is optional and may be positioned between the pour spout flap 22 and an opening 35 in the second top panel 16 such that removal of the detachable pour spout tab 30 and the detachable sealing tab 40 permits a flow of articles 18 from the container 17 as illustrated in FIG. 5.

The second top panel 16 is secured to an internal planar side 32 of the first top panel 15 such that the first and second top panels 12,13 define substantially parallel planes. Preferably, the second top panel 16 defines an opening 35 that is in communication with the first top panel opening 34. In particular, the opening 35 in the second top panel 16 is positioned adjacent to the top edge of the second side panel 13. Advantageously, a portion 43 of the second top panel 16 positioned adjacent to the first side panel 12 is debossed such that the first top flap 24 correspondingly engages the debossed portion to thereby form a sift-proof seal.

The pour spout flap 22 is secured to the top edge of the second side panel 13. The pour spout flap 22 includes the detachable pour spout tab 30 and the residual pour spout 23. The detachable pour spout tab 30 and pour spout 23 are defined by perforations 36 and positioned adjacent to one another. In a preferred embodiment, the pour spout flap 22 includes the pull tab 42 connected to the detachable pour spout tab 30. The pull tab 42 facilitates the removal of the detachable pour spout tab 30 from the first top panel 15 and the pour spout flap 22. The pull tab 42 is defined by at least one score line 38 in the pour spout flap 22.

The first top flap 24 of the container 17 is connected to a top edge of the first side panel 12. Specifically, the first top flap 24 is secured between the first and second top panels 15,16. The first bottom flap 25 is connected to a bottom edge of the first side panel 12 and secured between the first and second bottom panels 20,21. The second bottom flap 26 is connected to a bottom edge of the second side panel 13 such that the second bottom flap 26 is secured between the first and second bottom panels 20,21. As discussed above, the first top flap 24 correspondingly engages the debossed portion 43 of the second top panel 16 to thereby provide a sift-proof seal in the container.

Portions 44 of the first bottom panel are embossed to enhance the quality of the seal in the container 17. As constructed, the first and second bottom flaps 25,26 correspondingly engage the embossed portions 44 of the first bottom panel 20 to form a sift-proof seal. In a similar fashion, portions 45 of the second bottom panel 21 are debossed such that the first and second bottom flaps 25,26 correspondingly engage the debossed portions of the second bottom panel to form a sift-proof seal. The construction of the container permits corresponding engagement of the first top flap 24 with the debossed portion 43 of the second top panel 16. The container further permits the corresponding engagement of the first and second bottom flaps 25, 26 with the respective embossed and debossed portions 44,45 of the first and second bottom panels 20,21. In this fashion, the present invention provides a sift-proof sealed-end container 17 superior to known containers.

In a more preferred embodiment of the container 17, portions 44 of the first bottom panel 20 are embossed and portions 45 of the second bottom panel 21 are debossed. Preferably, the portions 44,45 are positioned at opposing edges of the respective bottom panels 20,21. As configured, the first and second bottom flaps 25,26 correspondingly engage the respective embossed edge portions 44 of the first bottom panel 20 and the respective debossed edge portions 45 of the second bottom panel 21 during construction of the container 17. This more preferred embodiment of the container enhances the sift-proof qualities of the seal.

Score lines 38 are provided in the pour spout flap 22 and the second side panel 13 to facilitate the deformation of the front panel 11, rear panel 14, and second side panel. See FIG. 4. The score lines facilitate extension of the pour spout 23 to thereby permit articles 18 in the container 17 to flow through the first and second top panel openings 34,35. In other words, the score lines 38 permit the opening and closing of the pour spout 23. Further, the score lines 38 permit deformation of the front panel 11, rear panel 14, and second side panel 13 to thereby release the pour spout 23 from the tab lock 31.

In the preferred embodiment of the container 17, the front panel 11, rear panel 14, first top panel 15, second top panel 16, first bottom panel 20, second bottom panel 21, first side panel 12, and second side panel 13 are substantially rectangular. The first top flap 24 and first and second bottom flaps 25,26 of the container 17 are preferably trapezoidal in shape. Nevertheless, it will be understood that the front panel 11, rear panel 14, first and second top panels 15,16, first and second bottom panels 20,21, and first and second side panels 12,13 are not limited to a rectangular shape and may be trapezoidal in shape. The rectangular shape of the panels ensures the substantially rectangular shape of the container 17. It will also be understood that the first top flap 24, and first and second bottom flaps 25,26 are not limited to trapezoidal shape and may be triangular or rectangular in shape.

Another aspect of the invention provides for a method of packaging articles 18 into a container 17 having a reclosable pour spout 23 that incorporates the preferred blank 10. Referring to FIGS. 9A-9D, the method of packaging includes the steps of providing a one-piece flexible blank 10, folding the blank to form a container 17 having an internal packaging compartment, and then positioning articles 18 to be packaged in the packaging compartment. Advantageously, the container 17 is substantially flat during the initial steps of the method, yet capable of being constructed into a substantially rectangular container. Thus, the container manufacturer may accomplish the initial step of forming a container, and then ship the container in its flat form to the article manufacturer (i.e., packager). By doing so, the container manufacturer enhances transportation efficiencies because the flat container minimizes required shipping space.

The preferred embodiment of the one-piece flexible blank 10 provided includes a front panel 11, first and second side panels 12,13 connected to opposing edges of the front panel, and a rear panel 14 connected to the front panel by the second side panel 13. The blank 10 provided further includes a first bottom panel 20 connected to a bottom edge of the front panel 11, a second bottom panel 21 connected to a bottom edge of the rear panel 14, a glue flap 50 connected to an edge of the rear panel 14 opposite the edge to which the second side panel 13 is connected, and a pour spout flap 22 connected to a top edge of the second side panel 13.

Upon providing the blank 10, the rear panel 14 is folded over the front panel 11, and the glue flap 50 is secured to an edge of the first side panel 12 as depicted in FIG. 9A. The glue flap 50 is secured such that the rear panel 14 and front panel 11, and the first side panel 12 and second side panel 13 define substantially parallel planes, respectively.

Advantageously, the present method of packaging provides for the formation of a container having greater sealing qualities as compared to known containers. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that known methods of forming a container typically include folding the minor panels toward the packaging compartment, and then folding the major flaps against the minor panels to form a seal. In the present invention, the first top panel 15, second top panel 16, first bottom panel 20, and second bottom panel 21 correspond to the major panels. Further, the first top flap 24, first bottom flap 25, and second bottom flap 26 of the present invention correspond to the minor panels. As described herein, the present method reverses the known method of folding the minor panels first and then folding the major panels against the minor panels. Stated differently, the present method of forming the container is referred to as “reversing the minor.”

Specifically, the present method provides the initial step of folding two major panels (i.e., second bottom panel 21 and second top panel 16) downward, and a subsequent step of folding the minor panels (i.e., first top flap 24, first bottom flap 25, and second bottom flap 26) against the two previously folded major panels. The present method also provides a further step of folding two additional major flaps (i.e., first bottom panel 20 and first top panel 15) against the minor panels (i.e., first top flap 24, first bottom flap 25, and second bottom flap 26) and the previously folded major panels (i.e., second bottom panel 21 and second top panel 16).

The present method of stepwise folding a major panel, folding a minor panel against the major panel, and then folding another major panel against the minor panel, provides a container 17 having a sift-proof seal at each closed end that surpasses the sealing qualities of known containers. Moreover, the corresponding engagement of the first top flap 24 with the debossed portion 43 of the second top panel 16, and the corresponding engagement of the first and second bottom flaps 25, 26 with the respective embossed and debossed portions 44,45 of the first and second bottom panels 20,21 as provided in the blank incorporated into the present method further promotes the sealing qualities of the container.

The present method as described below will refer to the elements claimed herein (e.g., first top panel 15 and first top flap 24) as opposed to major panels and minor panels.

The blank 10 provided may also include a first bottom flap 25 connected to a bottom edge of the first side panel 12, and a second bottom flap 26 connected to a bottom edge of the second side panel 13.

Once the glue flap 50 is secured to the edge of the first side panel 12 of the blank 10 provided, the second bottom panel 21 is folded towards the front panel 11. Next, the first and second bottom flaps 25,26 are folded against the second bottom panel 21 and secured to the second bottom panel.

Upon securing the first and second bottom flaps 25,26 to the second bottom panel 21, the first bottom panel 20 is folded against the second bottom panel, first bottom flap 25, and second bottom flap 26. Thereafter, the first bottom panel 20 is secured to the second bottom panel 21 such that the first bottom flap 25 and second bottom flap 26 are secured between the first and second bottom panels.

The next step of the preferred method includes positioning articles 18 to be packaged in the packaging compartment of the container 17. This step may be accomplished along an in-line process.

The preferred method of packaging may also include the step of forming a reclosable pour spout 23 after articles 18 are positioned in the container 17. When incorporating the step of forming the pour spout 23 into the present method, the blank 10 provided may further include a first top panel 15 connected to a top edge of the front panel 11, a second top panel 16 connected to a top edge of the rear panel 14, and a first top flap 24 connected to a top edge of the first side panel 12. The first top panel 15 includes an opening 34 adjacent to the pour spout flap 22, and the second top panel 16 likewise includes an opening 35 adjacent to the pour spout flap.

Referring to FIGS. 9A-9B, the step of forming the reclosable pour spout 23 includes folding the second top panel 16 towards the front panel 11, folding the first top flap 24 against the second top panel, and securing the first top flap to the second top panel. The second top panel 16 is folded toward the front panel 11 such that the second top panel and the first and second bottom panels 20,21 define substantially parallel planes.

After securing the first top flap 24 to the second top panel 16, the first top panel 15 is folded against the second top panel and first top flap. See FIG. 9C. The first top panel 15 is folded such that the openings 34,35 in the first and second top panels 15,16 are in communication. The blank 10 depicted in FIGS. 9A-9D includes the optional sealing tab 40 that occupies the opening 34 in the first top panel 15 and covers the opening 35 in the second top panel 16 upon construction of the container 17. It will be understood, however, the same steps are incorporated into the preferred method whether or not the sealing tab 40 is included in the blank 10. Next, first top panel 15 is secured to the second top panel 16 such that the first top flap 24 is secured between the first and second top panels.

The final steps of packaging according to the preferred method are accomplished after the step of securing the first top panel 15 to the second top panel 16. Specifically, with reference to FIG. 9D, the step of folding also includes folding the pour spout flap 22 against the first top panel 15 and securing the pour spout flap against the first top panel 15. The pour spout flap 22 is secured against the first top panel 15 such that removal of the pour spout flap from the first top panel permits the articles 18 in the container 17 to flow through the openings 34,35 in the first and second top panels 15,16.

The present invention also provides for a method of forming a container 17 having a reclosable pour spout 23 and enhanced sealing qualities. The preferred method includes the steps of providing a preferred embodiment of the blank 10 and folding the blank to form a container 17 having a reclosable pour spout 23. The resulting container 17 is substantially flat, yet capable of being constructed into a substantially rectangular container.

The preferred embodiment of the blank 10 provided is a one-piece flexible blank having a front panel 11, first and second side panels 12,13 connected to opposing edges of the front panel, a rear panel 14 connected to the front panel by the second side panel 13, a first top panel 15 connected to a top edge of the front panel, and a second top panel 16 connected to a top edge of the rear panel. The blank 10 provided also includes a first bottom panel 20 connected to a bottom edge of the front panel 11, a second bottom panel 21 connected to a bottom edge of the rear panel 14, a glue flap 50 connected to an edge of the rear panel opposite the edge to which the second side panel 13 is connected, and a pour spout flap 22 connected to a top edge of the second side panel. Still further, the blank 10 provided may include a first top flap 24 connected to a top edge of said first side panel 12, a first bottom flap 25 connected to a bottom edge of the first side panel, an opening 34 defined by the first top panel 15, an opening 35 defined by the second top panel 16, and a second bottom flap 26 connected to a bottom edge of the first side panel.

The step of folding the blank 10 includes folding the rear panel 14 over the front panel 11, and securing the glue flap 50 to an edge of the first side panel 12 such that the rear and front panels 14,11 and the first and second side panels 12,13 define substantially parallel planes, respectively. See FIG. 9A.

The present method of forming a container likewise provides for the formation of a container having greater sealing qualities as compared to known containers. As described above, the present method reverses the known method of folding the minor panels first and then folding the major panels against the minor panels.

Upon securing the glue flap 50 to the first side panel 12, the second bottom panel 21 is folded towards the front panel 11, and the second top panel 16 is folded towards the front panel such that the second top panel and the second bottom panel define substantially parallel planes.

After the second top panel 16 is folded toward the front panel 11, the first top flap 24 is then folded against the second top panel 16, and the first top flap is secured to the second top panel. See FIG. 9B. Thereafter, the first and second bottom flaps 25,26 are folded against the second bottom panel 21. Next, the first and second bottom flaps 25,26 are secured to the second bottom panel 21. The steps of folding the first and second bottom flaps 25,26 and securing the same to the second bottom panel 21 are performed after the step of securing the first top flap 24 to the second top panel 16.

The later steps of folding—i.e., after the step of securing the first and second bottom flaps 25,26 to the second bottom panel 21—include folding the first bottom panel 20 against the second bottom panel 26, first bottom flap, and second bottom flap. The first bottom panel 20 is then secured to the second bottom panel 21 such that the first and second bottom flaps 25,26 are secured between the first and second bottom panels.

The method of forming the container 17 further incorporates the steps of folding the first top panel 15 against the second top panel 16 and first top flap 24, and then securing the first top panel to the second top panel. See FIG. 9B. The step of folding the first top panel 15 against the second top panel 16 and first top flap 24 is accomplished such that such that the openings 34,35 in the first and second top panels are in communication. The step of securing the first top panel 15 is performed such that the first top flap 24 is secured between the first top panel and second top panel 16.

Finally, the step of folding incorporates the steps of folding the pour spout flap 22 against the first top panel 15, and securing the pour spout flap to the first top panel to thereby releasably seal the openings 34,35 in the first and second top panels 15,16. See FIGS. 9C-9D.

In the drawings and specification, there have been disclosed typical embodiments on the invention and, although specific terms have been employed, they have been used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation, the scope of the invention being set forth in the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7913897 *Dec 6, 2007Mar 29, 2011Graphic Packaging International, Inc.Carton with reclosable dispenser
US7938312Jan 17, 2007May 10, 2011Graphic Packaging International, Inc.Carton with bag closures
US8672214Oct 25, 2006Mar 18, 2014Graphic Packaging International, Inc.Cartons with reclosable opening features
WO2011084074A1 *Jan 10, 2011Jul 14, 2011Sebastian Salvesen AdamsCarton box with pour spout
Classifications
U.S. Classification229/217, 229/219
International ClassificationB65D5/72, B65D5/74
Cooperative ClassificationB65D5/745
European ClassificationB65D5/74B3
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 30, 2013ASAssignment
Free format text: RELEASE OF SECURITY INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BANK OF AMERICA, N.A.;REEL/FRAME:031122/0158
Effective date: 20130806
Owner name: CARAUSTAR INDUSTRIAL AND CONSUMER PRODUCTS GROUP,
Owner name: CARAUSTAR CUSTOM PACKAGING GROUP, INC., GEORGIA
Apr 18, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: BANK OF AMERICA, N.A., AS AGENT, GEORGIA
Free format text: SECURITY AGREEMENT;ASSIGNOR:CARAUSTAR INDUSTRIES, INC.;REEL/FRAME:017487/0235
Effective date: 20060330
Jan 25, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: CARAUSTAR INDUSTRIES, INC., GEORGIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:PETRELLI, J. ANTHONY;REEL/FRAME:017211/0500
Effective date: 20051013
Oct 27, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: CARAUSTAR INDUSTRIES, INC., GEORGIA
Free format text: EMPLOYER S A STATEMENT OF EQUITABLE INTEREST IN U.S. PATENT APPLICATIONS;ASSIGNORS:NELSON, DANIEL J.;PETRELLI, J. ANTHONY;REEL/FRAME:016949/0975
Effective date: 20051021