US 20060006178 A1
A tamper-indicating wide-mouth food container including a thermoformed or injection molded lid having a downwardly-extending rim portion which engages the rim of the container, the rim portion separated by a tear strip along one or more slitted peripheral lines when the container is first opened. A slitting line extends downwardly from the peripheral line from the horizontal over a small area to form a manually-engageable tab which facilitates the tearing of the stilted peripheral line. When the tear strip is separated, that part of the rim portion below the tear strip falls free of engagement to provide an indication of a first opening of the container.
1. In a lid for a wide-mouth container including a plug-shaped central portion and an arcuate rim extending radially outward of said central portion, the improvement comprising: an outer arcuate rim member, and an interconnected flared portion extending downwardly from said outer rim member to engage a rim of said container; said outer rim having at least one horizontally-oriented lines of slitting, and a line of slitting extending downwardly over a limited arcuate area between said horizontally-oriented line to form a manually engageable tab above said flared portion; whereby upon the tearing of said lines of slitting using said tab, said flared portion is disconnected from said lid to permit removal of said lid from the mouth of an engaged container, and provide a visual indication that the container has been initially opened.
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6. A lid for a wide mouth container, said lid having a plug-shaped central wall and an arcuate member extending radially outward of said central wall; an interconnected flared member extending downwardly from said arcuate member for engaging a corresponding bead at a rim of a container, and flanged member forming a hook-like means for engaging a corresponding rim of said container; said flanged member having at least one horizontally-oriented parallel lines of slitting to form a manually-engageable tab above said flared member, whereby upon the tearing of said flared member employing said tab along said parallel line(s) of slitting, a gap is formed to provide visual tamper-indicating means.
7. The lid as set forth in
Reference is made to our co pending application. Ser. No. 60/586,073 filed Jul. 8, 2004, to which a claim of priority is made.
This invention relates generally to the field of wide-mouth food containers, In particular intended for the retail sale of such products as cottage cheese, margarine, and the like. Container and lid could be round or rectangular in shape.
Attempts have been made in the prior art to provide a tamper-proof construction, or at least a tamper-indicating lid without the need of complex molding techniques. The most commonly used process is to shrink wrap in the area of the rim of the lid, overlying the mouth of the container. The shrink-wrapping must be broken before the lid can removed. This installation process is troublesome, and requires a separate machine for installation. The opening of the package is also not usually easy, and often requires the use of a tool such as a knife blade. As a result, the process is relatively expensive, and could be somewhat dangerous to the consumer.
Briefly stated, the invention contemplates the provision of an improved tamper-indicating package of the type disclosed, in which the need for a separate shrink-wrapping operation is eliminated. To this end, the lid or cover is commonly thermoformed from sheet material or injection molded to include a vertical skirt with a peripheral portion of thin walled cross section to allow flexing of a part of the rim over an outwardly-extending bead on the container. The skirt includes a tear strip forming a manually-engageable tab. A portion of the strip below the skirt engages a bead on the container, and may be heat sealed if desired, or allowed to fall free from the container after the tear strip is separated. The container at the mouth thereof includes a corresponding flexible skirt with an outwardly flared edge to engage the skirt of the lid. The tear strip is preferably formed by using laser beams which also form the manually-engageable tab. After a first opening of the container, it is closed in normal manner using a plug-type sealing means on the lid which engages a corresponding recess on the inner surface of the container mouth.
In the drawings, to which reference will be made in the specification, similar reference characters have been employed to designate corresponding parts throughout the several views.
In accordance with the invention, the device, generally Indicated by reference character 10 comprises broadly: a container element 11 and a lid or cover element 12.
The container element 11 may be of known type, commonly formed by injection molding or thermoforming. It includes a bottom wall 20, an arcuate side wall 21, an upper rim section 22, and a lid-engaging portion 23 forming upper and lower recesses 24 and 25. It also includes a radially-extending recess 26 supporting a horizontal portion 27 and a bead-forming portion 28 defining an annular recess 29 engaged by the lid element upon first installation.
The lid element 12, commonly formed as a thermoforming or injection molding operation, and includes a horizontal main wall 30, an inner rim member 31, a radially-extending wall 32 and an outer rim member 33. The rim member 33 includes a single or multiple lines of slitting 34, preferably formed using a Laser beam, and as seen in
During an initial opening operation, the user first separates the tab 35 and moves the same circumferentially to result in severing that portion of the slitted lines 34 which lie in a horizontal plane. This motion will also separate that portion of the lid 38 located below the horizontally-slitted lines so that it will fall away from the container. When the lid is replaced, there will be visually observable evidence that the container was initially opened. If desired, the portion 38 may be heat sealed in position to remain after the lid is removed.
It may thus be seen that we have invented novel and highly useful improvements in lid construction for wide-mouth containers in which the need for heat shrinking additional material surrounding the rim of the lid is eliminated. The novel lid construction is commonly thermoformed or injection molded. The lower flared portion of the lid forms the locking means which, at the time of installation, radially expands past the outermost mouth dimension of the container, and contracts beneath the rim of the container to provide a locking means. By laser slitting not only the horizontal parting lines, but forming a manually-engageable tab, those portions of the lid located below the horizontal slitting line will be ruptured at the time of opening and fall away from the container, leaving clear evidence of an initial opening of the container.
It is noted that after first opening, the lid is removably sealed in the container mouth and maintained by engagement of members 31 and 33 with members 23, 26, and 28.
It may thus be seen that we have invented novel and highly useful improvements in a combination lid and container, in which the need for a heat shrinking operation is eliminated while providing a visual indication that the container may have been tampered with by the time it reaches the consumer. This is accomplished by providing the lid with a downwardly-extending flared member which may be stretched over a bead on the container rim to subsequently contract when the lid is fully seated. The flared portion is provided with a tear strip which must be removed before the lid can be manually removed, and the removal of the tear strip forms a gap which is readily observable. Optionally, with the provision of vertical slitting to form a manually-engageable tab on the tear strip, the slitting may be continued into the area below the tear strip so that it will fall away from the container at the same time. Until the tear strip has been removed, it is difficult to remove the lid from the container.
We wish it to be understood that we do not consider the invention to be limited to the precise details shown and described in the specification, for obvious modifications will occur to those skilled in the art to which the invention pertains.