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Publication numberUS20060013514 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/894,879
Publication dateJan 19, 2006
Filing dateJul 19, 2004
Priority dateJul 19, 2004
Also published asWO2006020085A2, WO2006020085A3
Publication number10894879, 894879, US 2006/0013514 A1, US 2006/013514 A1, US 20060013514 A1, US 20060013514A1, US 2006013514 A1, US 2006013514A1, US-A1-20060013514, US-A1-2006013514, US2006/0013514A1, US2006/013514A1, US20060013514 A1, US20060013514A1, US2006013514 A1, US2006013514A1
InventorsHongyu Wu
Original AssigneeHongyu Wu
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Vacuum packaging bags with gussets and methods for using and manufacturing vacuum packaging bags with gussets
US 20060013514 A1
Abstract
Vacuum packaging bags and methods of manufacturing and using vacuum packaging bags are disclosed herein. In one embodiment, a vacuum packaging bag includes a first panel, a second panel coupled to the first panel, and a gusset between the first and second panels. The first panel has a first gas impermeable layer and a first sealable layer coupled to the first gas impermeable layer. The second panel has a second gas impermeable layer and a second sealable layer coupled to the second gas impermeable layer. The gusset can extend along a length of the bag and project inwardly toward an interior region. The bag may further include a plurality of intercommunicating channels for conveying a flow of gas when the bag is evacuated.
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Claims(54)
1. A vacuum packaging bag, comprising:
a first panel having a first gas impermeable layer and a first sealable layer coupled to the first gas impermeable layer;
a second panel having a second gas impermeable layer and a second sealable layer coupled to the second gas impermeable layer; and
a gusset between the first panel and the second panel.
2. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 1 wherein:
the first panel further includes a first edge and a second edge opposite the first edge;
the second panel further includes a third edge and a fourth edge opposite the third edge; and
the gusset is between the first and third edges.
3. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 1 wherein:
the first panel further includes a first edge and a second edge opposite the first edge;
the second panel further includes a third edge and a fourth edge opposite the third edge;
the gusset is a first gusset between the first and third edges; and
the bag further comprises a second gusset between the second and fourth edges.
4. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 1 wherein:
the gusset is a first gusset;
the vacuum packaging bag further comprises second and third gussets between the first and second panels; and
the second gusset is opposite the first gusset and the third gusset extends between the first and second gussets.
5. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 1 wherein the gusset extends along a length of the bag.
6. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 1 wherein the first panel further includes a plurality of intercommunicating channels for conveying a flow of gas when the bag is evacuated.
7. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 1 wherein the first panel has a first footprint and the second panel has a second footprint, and wherein the gusset is positioned such that an interior volume of the bag can increase without substantially changing the first and second footprints.
8. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 1 wherein the first sealable layer comprises a first pealably sealable layer, and wherein the second sealable layer comprises a second pealably sealable layer that selectively pealably bonds with the first pealably sealable layer to seal the bag.
9. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 1 wherein the first and second sealable layers are formed of a material such that the first sealable layer pealably bonds with the second sealable layer under the influence of heat and/or pressure.
10. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 1 wherein the first and second sealable layers are formed of a material such that the first sealable layer substantially permanently bonds with the second sealable layer under the influence of heat.
11. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 1 wherein the gusset projects toward an interior region of the bag when the bag is empty.
12. A vacuum packaging bag that a user can place a product in, vacuum evacuate to a predefined vacuum level, hermetically seal through a predefined sealing process, the vacuum packaging bag characterized in that the bag has at least one gusset for allowing the bag to expand as the product is placed in the bag.
13. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 12, further comprising:
a first panel having a first gas impermeable layer and a first sealable layer coupled to the first gas impermeable layer; and
a second panel having a second gas impermeable layer and a second sealable layer coupled to the second gas impermeable layer;
wherein the gusset is between the first panel and the second panel.
14. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 12 wherein the gusset is a first gusset, wherein the bag further comprises a second gusset, and wherein the first and second gussets are on opposite sides of the bag.
15. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 12 wherein the gusset extends along a length of the bag.
16. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 12, further comprising a plurality of intercommunicating channels for conveying a flow of gas when the bag is evacuated.
17. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 12 wherein the gusset projects toward an interior region of the bag when the bag is empty.
18. A vacuum packaging bag, comprising:
a first panel having a plurality of intercommunicating channels, a first edge, a second edge opposite the first edge, a first gas impermeable layer, and a first sealable layer coupled to the first gas impermeable layer;
a second panel having a third edge, a fourth edge opposite the third edge, a second gas impermeable layer, and a second sealable layer coupled to the second gas impermeable layer;
a first gusset between the first and third edges; and
a second gusset between the second and fourth edges.
19. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 18, further comprising a third gusset between the first and second panels and extending from the first gusset to the second gusset.
20. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 18 wherein the first and second gussets extend along a length of the bag.
21. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 18 wherein the first panel has a first footprint and the second panel has a second footprint, and wherein the first and second gussets are positioned such that an interior volume of the bag can increase without substantially changing the first and second footprints.
22. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 18 wherein the first and second sealable layers are formed of a material such that the first sealable layer pealably bonds with the second sealable layer under the influence of heat and/or pressure.
23. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 18 wherein the first and second sealable layers are formed of a material such that the first sealable layer substantially permanently bonds with the second sealable layer under the influence of heat.
24. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 18 wherein the first and second gussets project toward an interior region of the bag when the bag is empty.
25. A vacuum packaging bag, comprising:
a first panel having a first footprint, a first gas impermeable layer, and a first sealable layer coupled to the first gas impermeable layer;
a second panel having a second footprint at least approximately the same as the first footprint, a second gas impermeable layer, and a second sealable layer coupled to the second gas impermeable layer; and
a gusset between the first panel and the second panel so that an interior volume of the bag can increase without substantially changing the first and second footprints.
26. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 25 wherein the gusset is a first gusset, and wherein the bag further comprises a second gusset between the first and second panels and opposite the first gusset.
27. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 25 wherein the gusset extends along a length of the bag.
28. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 25 wherein the first panel further includes a plurality of intercommunicating channels for conveying a flow of gas when the bag is evacuated.
29. The vacuum packaging bag of claim 25 wherein the gusset projects toward an interior region of the bag when the bag is empty.
30. A bag roll for forming vacuum packaging bags that hold food or other products, the bag roll comprising:
a first sheet having a first gas impermeable layer and a first sealable layer coupled to the first gas impermeable layer;
a second sheet having a second gas impermeable layer and a second sealable layer coupled to the second gas impermeable layer; and
a gusset between the first sheet and the second sheet;
wherein portions of the bag roll may be cut to form bags having opposing open ends that are heat-sealable.
31. The bag roll of claim 30 wherein:
the first sheet further includes a first edge and a second edge opposite the first edge;
the second sheet further includes a third edge and a fourth edge opposite the third edge; and
the gusset is between the first and third edges.
32. The bag roll of claim 30 wherein:
the first sheet further includes a first edge and a second edge opposite the first edge;
the second sheet further includes a third edge and a fourth edge opposite the third edge;
the gusset is a first gusset between the first and third edges; and
the bag roll further comprises a second gusset between the second and fourth edges.
33. The bag roll of claim 30 wherein the gusset extends along a length of the roll.
34. The bag roll of claim 30 wherein the first sheet further includes a plurality of intercommunicating channels for conveying a flow of gas.
35. The bag roll of claim 30 wherein the first and second sealable layers are formed of a material such that the first sealable layer pealably bonds with the second sealable layer under the influence of heat and/or pressure.
36. The bag roll of claim 30 wherein the first and second sealable layers are formed of a material such that the first sealable layer substantially permanently bonds with the second sealable layer under the influence of heat.
37. The bag roll of claim 30 wherein the gusset projects inwardly toward an interior region of the roll.
38. A method of using a vacuum packaging bag, the method comprising:
placing an object into a vacuum packaging bag having a gusset so that an interior volume of the bag increases to receive the object;
at least substantially evacuating gas from the vacuum packaging bag with a vacuum packaging appliance; and
sealing an open end of the vacuum packaging bag with the vacuum packaging appliance to at least substantially hermetically seal the bag.
39. The method of claim 38 wherein:
the vacuum packaging bag comprises a first panel, a second panel opposite the first panel, and the gusset between the first and second panels, the first panel having a first footprint and the second panel having a second footprint; and
placing the object into the bag comprises increasing the interior volume of the bag without substantially changing the first and/or second footprints.
40. The method of claim 38 wherein:
the gusset is a first gusset;
the vacuum packaging bag comprises a second gusset opposite the first gusset; and
placing the object into the bag comprises unfolding the first and second gussets to increase the interior volume of the bag.
41. The method of claim 38 wherein at least substantially evacuating gas from the bag comprises exhausting gas through intercommunicating channels in the bag.
42. The method of claim 38 wherein:
the vacuum packaging bag comprises a first pealably sealable layer and a second pealably sealable layer; and
sealing the open end of the bag comprises pealably bonding the first pealably sealable layer to the second pealably sealable layer.
43. The method of claim 38 wherein sealing the open end of the bag comprises heating the open end of the bag to form a thermal seal.
44. A method for manufacturing a vacuum packaging bag, the method comprising:
forming first and second panels with each panel having a gas impermeable layer and a sealable layer coupled to the gas impermeable layer; and
forming a gusset between the first and second panels.
45. The method of claim 44 wherein:
forming the first and second panels comprises forming the first panel with a first edge and a second edge opposite the first edge and forming the second panel with a third edge and a fourth edge opposite the third edge; and
forming the gusset comprises forming the gusset between the first and third edges.
46. The method of claim 44 wherein the gusset is a first gusset, and wherein the method further comprises forming a second gusset between the first and second panels and opposite the first gusset.
47. The method of claim 44 wherein forming the gusset comprises forming the gusset along a length of the bag.
48. The method of claim 44 wherein forming the first and second panels comprises forming a plurality of intercommunicating channels in the first panel for conveying a flow of gas when the bag is evacuated.
49. The method of claim 44 wherein forming the gusset comprises forming the gusset such that the gusset projects inwardly.
50. The method of claim 44, further comprising heat sealing the first panel to the second panel at an end of the bag.
51. The method of claim 44 wherein forming the first and second panels comprises forming the first and second sealable layers with a material such that the first sealable layer pealably bonds with the second sealable layer under the influence of heat and/or pressure.
52. The method of claim 44 wherein forming the first and second panels comprises forming the first and second sealable layers with a material such that the first sealable layer substantially permanently bonds with the second sealable layer under the influence of heat.
53. A bag suitable for use with a vacuum packaging appliance, said bag characterized in that said bag has at least one side-gusset arranged to expand under manual operation by a user.
54. A bag as recited in claim 53, wherein said bag is made from a polyester material well suited for heat sealing.
Description
    TECHNICAL FIELD
  • [0001]
    The present invention generally relates to vacuum packaging. More particularly, the invention is directed to vacuum packaging bags with gussets and methods for using and manufacturing vacuum packaging bags with gussets.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0002]
    Vacuum packaging involves removing air or other gases from a storage container and then sealing the container to prevent the contents from being exposed to ambient air. Vacuum packaging is particularly useful in protecting food and other perishables against oxidation. Oxygen is a main cause of food spoilage and contributes to the growth of bacteria, mold, and yeast. Accordingly, vacuum-packaged food often lasts three to five times longer than food stored in ordinary containers. Moreover, vacuum packaging is useful for storing clothes, photographs, silver, and other items to prevent discoloration, corrosion, rust, and tarnishing. Vacuum packaging also produces tight, strong, and compact packages, reducing the bulk of articles and allowing for more space to store other supplies.
  • [0003]
    FIGS. 1A and 1B are schematic isometric views of a conventional appliance 10 for vacuum packaging an object 98 (shown in broken lines) in accordance with the prior art. The vacuum packaging appliance 10 includes a base 20, a lid 40 pivotably coupled to the base 20, a lower trough 22 in the base 20, an upper trough (not shown) in the lid 40, and a vacuum pump (not shown) operably coupled to the upper trough. The lid 40 pivots between an open position (shown in FIG. 1B), in which a portion of a bag 60 can be placed between the lid 40 and the base 20, and a closed position (shown in FIG. 1A), in which the bag 60 can be evacuated and thermally sealed. In the closed position, the upper trough and the lower trough 22 are aligned and form a vacuum chamber to remove gas from the interior of the bag 60. The base 20 includes a seal 24 surrounding the vacuum chamber to seal the chamber from ambient air while gas is removed from the interior of the bag 60. The vacuum packaging appliance 10 further includes a heating element 35 to thermally seal the bag 60 after the gas has been evacuated. A vacuum packaging appliance of this type is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,941,310, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • [0004]
    Conventional vacuum packaging bags include two panels attached together with an open end. Typically, the panels each include two or more layers. The inner layer can be a heat sealable material, and the outer layer can be a gas impermeable material to provide a barrier against the influx of air. The plasticity temperature of the inner layer is lower than the outer layer. As such, the bag can be heated to thermally bond the inner layer of each panel together to seal the bag without melting or puncturing the outer layer.
  • [0005]
    A conventional vacuum packaging process includes depositing the object 98 into the bag 60 and positioning an open end 62 of the bag 60 in the lower trough 22 of the vacuum packaging appliance 10. Next, the lid 40 pivots downward to form the vacuum chamber with the open end 62 of the bag 60 disposed within the vacuum chamber. The vacuum pump then removes gas from the vacuum chamber and the interior of the bag 60, which is in fluid communication with the vacuum chamber. After gas has been removed from the interior of the bag 60, the heating element 30 heats a strip of the bag 60 proximate to the open end 62 to bond the inner layer of each panel together and thermally seal the bag 60.
  • [0006]
    One problem with conventional vacuum packaging bags is that bags configured to store bulky objects have big panels, which require a large vacuum packaging appliance to evacuate and seal. Large appliances have relatively big footprints and consume significant space on a countertop or other surface. For example, the footprint of the appliance 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1A-1B is the surface area of the bottom of the base 20. Accordingly, there is a need to provide vacuum packaging appliances with smaller footprints.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0007]
    FIGS. 1A and 1B are schematic isometric views of a conventional appliance for vacuum packaging objects in accordance with the prior art.
  • [0008]
    FIG. 2 is a schematic isometric view of a vacuum packaging system including a vacuum packaging appliance and a vacuum packaging bag in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.
  • [0009]
    FIG. 3 is a schematic front isometric view of the vacuum packaging bag of FIG. 2.
  • [0010]
    FIG. 4 is an enlarged schematic cross-sectional side view of a portion of the vacuum packaging bag of FIG. 2 with the first and second panels pressed together.
  • [0011]
    FIG. 5 is a schematic front isometric view of a vacuum packaging bag in accordance with another embodiment of the invention.
  • [0012]
    FIG. 6 is a schematic front isometric view of a vacuum packaging bag in accordance with another embodiment of the invention.
  • [0013]
    FIG. 7 is a schematic front isometric view of a bag roll for forming vacuum packaging bags in accordance with another embodiment of the invention.
  • [0014]
    FIG. 8 is a flow chart illustrating a method of using vacuum bags according to one aspect of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0000]
    A. Overview
  • [0015]
    The present invention is directed toward vacuum packaging bags and methods of manufacturing and using vacuum packaging bags. In one embodiment, a vacuum packaging bag includes a first panel, a second panel coupled to the first panel, and a gusset between the first and second panels. The first panel has a first gas impermeable layer and a first sealable layer coupled to the first gas impermeable layer. The second panel has a second gas impermeable layer and a second sealable layer coupled to the second gas impermeable layer. The gusset can extend along a length of the bag and project inwardly toward an interior region.
  • [0016]
    In another embodiment, a vacuum packaging bag includes a first panel and a second panel coupled to the first panel. The first panel has a plurality of intercommunicating channels, a first edge, a second edge opposite the first edge, a first gas impermeable layer, and a first sealable layer coupled to the first gas impermeable layer. The second panel has a third edge, a fourth edge opposite the third edge, a second gas impermeable layer, and a second sealable layer coupled to the second gas impermeable layer. The bag further includes a first gusset between the first and third edges and a second gusset between the second and fourth edges. In one aspect of this embodiment, the sealable layers are formed of a material such that the first sealable layer pealably bonds with the second sealable layer under the influence of heat and/or pressure. The sealable layers may also be formed of a material such that the first sealable layer permanently bonds with the second sealable layer.
  • [0017]
    The following disclosure describes several embodiments of vacuum packaging bags and methods of manufacturing and using vacuum packaging bags. Several details describing structures and processes that are well known and often associated with vacuum packaging appliances and bags are not set forth in the following description for purposes of brevity. Moreover, although the following disclosure sets forth several embodiments of different aspects of the invention, several other embodiments of the invention can have different configurations or different components than those described in this section. As such, it should be understood that the invention may have other embodiments with additional elements or without several of the elements described below with reference to FIGS. 2-8.
  • [0000]
    B. Embodiments of Vacuum Packaging Systems Including Vacuum Packaging Bass and Vacuum Packaging Appliances
  • [0018]
    FIG. 2 is a schematic isometric view of a vacuum packaging system 100 including a vacuum packaging appliance 110 and a vacuum packaging bag 160 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The vacuum packaging appliance 110 includes a base 120, a lid 140, and a hinge 150 pivotably coupling the lid 140 to the base 120. The lid 140 is pivotable about an axis A-A between an open position (shown in FIG. 2) and a closed position. The illustrated base 120 includes a first chamber portion 122 and a first seal 124 surrounding the first chamber portion 122. The lid 140 can include a second chamber portion 142 and a second seal 144 surrounding the second chamber portion 142. When the lid 140 is in the closed position, the first and second chamber portions 122 and 142 form a vacuum chamber. In other embodiments, the vacuum packaging appliance 110 can have other configurations. For example, the base 120 and/or the lid 140 might not include a chamber portion and/or a seal. Moreover, the vacuum packaging appliance 110 may be lidless.
  • [0019]
    The vacuum packaging appliance 110 further includes a vacuum pump 130 (shown in broken lines) operably coupled to the first and/or second chamber portion 122 or 142 for removing gas from the vacuum chamber when the lid 140 is in the closed position. The vacuum pump 130 can also remove gas from the interior of the bag 160 when an open end 162 of the bag 160 is positioned in the vacuum chamber. The bag 160 is configured so that the interior of the bag 160 is in fluid communication with the vacuum chamber when the lid 140 is in the closed position, as described in greater detail below with reference to FIG. 4. Accordingly, the vacuum pump 130 can remove gas from the vacuum chamber and the interior of the bag 160.
  • [0020]
    In the illustrated embodiment, the vacuum packaging appliance 110 further includes a heating element 135 and a member 155 for pressing the bag 160 against the heating element 135. The heating element 135 can be carried by the base 120, and the member 155 can be carried by and project from the lid 140. The heating element 135 is configured to thermally seal the bag 160 after the gas has been substantially evacuated from the interior of the bag 160. The heating element 135 heats the bag 160 and the member 155 presses the bag 160 against the heating element 135 to ensure a seal is formed across the bag 160. In other embodiments, the vacuum packaging appliance 110 can have a different configuration.
  • [0000]
    C. Embodiments of Vacuum Packaging Bags Having Gussets
  • [0021]
    FIG. 3 is a schematic front isometric view of the vacuum packaging bag 160 of FIG. 2. The bag 160 includes a first panel 164 and a second panel 174 coupled to the first panel 164. The first panel 164 can include a first edge 168 a, a second edge 168 b, a third edge 168 c opposite the first edge 168 a, and a fourth edge 168 d opposite the second edge 168 b. The second panel 174 can include a first edge 178 a, a second edge 178 b, a third edge 178 c opposite the first edge 178 a, and a fourth edge 178 d opposite the second edge 178 b. In the illustrated embodiment, the second edge 168 b and the third edge 168 c of the first panel 164 are attached to the second edge 178 b and the third edge 178 c, respectively, of the second panel 174. The fourth edges 168 d and 178 d of the first and second panels 164 and 174 are unconnected and define the open end 162 of the bag 160. The first and second panels 164 and 174 define an interior region 184 into which an object(s) can be placed.
  • [0022]
    The illustrated vacuum packaging bag 160 further includes a gusset 190 between the first and second panels 164 and 174. The gusset 190 has a first portion 191 a attached to the first panel 164 at the first edge 168 a and a second portion 191 b attached to the second panel 174 at the first edge 178 a. The illustrated gusset 190 extends along a length L of the bag 160 and projects inwardly toward the interior region 184 when the bag is empty. In other embodiments, such as the embodiments described below with reference to FIGS. 5-6, the bag may include a different number of gussets and/or the gusset may extend along a width of the bag.
  • [0023]
    One advantage of the illustrated bag 160 is that the gusset 190 increases the storage capacity of the bag 160. The storage capacity is increased because the gusset 190 allows the first and second panels 164 and 174 to move a greater distance apart from each other. More specifically, as objects are placed into the interior region 184, an angle α between the first and second portions 191 a-b increases and the gusset 190 moves in a direction D1 so that the first and second panels 164 and 174 can move away from each other. As such, the bag 160 can carry a greater volume of objects. Although the storage capacity of conventional bags can be increased by increasing the size of the panels, the larger panels require a bigger vacuum packaging appliance to evacuate and seal the bag. Bigger vacuum packaging appliances have larger footprints and require more space on the countertop or other surface. The gusset 190 in the illustrated bag 160, however, increases the storage capacity of the bag 160 without increasing the size of the panels. Consequently, the bag 160 can be evacuated and sealed by an appliance with a smaller footprint.
  • [0024]
    Another feature of the illustrated bag 160 is that as an object is placed into the bag 160 and the first and second panels 164 and 174 move apart, the first and second panels 164 and 174 remain generally flat and, consequently, the footprint of the first and second panels 164 and 174 does not change significantly. An advantage of this feature is that the generally flat panels are easier to seal together in a vacuum packaging appliance. In contrast, when an object is placed in a conventional bag that does not have a gusset, the panels curve to increase the interior volume of the bag and, consequently, the footprint of the panels is reduced. The open end of these conventional bags is more difficult to seal.
  • [0025]
    FIG. 4 is an enlarged schematic cross-sectional side view of a portion of the vacuum packaging bag 160 with the first and second panels 164 and 174 pressed together. The first and second panels 164 and 174 each include a gas impermeable layer 180 (identified individually as 180 a-b) and a sealable layer 182 (identified individually as 182 a-b) coupled to the corresponding gas impermeable layer 180. The gas impermeable layers 180 a-b provide a barrier against the influx of air. The sealable layers 182 a-b can have a different temperature of plasticity than the gas impermeable layers 180 a-b so that the bag 160 can be heated to bond the sealable layers 182 a-b together without melting or puncturing the gas impermeable layers 180 a-b. In other embodiments, the first and second panels 164 and 174 can further include an additional layer(s), such as a structural layer, to increase the strength and rigidity of the bag 160.
  • [0026]
    The sealable layers 182 can include a pealably sealable layer and/or a substantially permanently sealable layer. The pealably sealable layer includes resin or other materials that through pressure, heat, or another sealing enabler, form a pealable seal that is opened through a manual pealing action. The manual pealing action does not require a tool and does not result in wasting or destroying a portion of the vacuum packaging bag. Pealably sealable layers are described in detail in U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/553,693, filed Mar. 15, 2004, which is incorporated by reference herein. Permanently sealable layers can include resin that with heat forms a generally permanent seal. In several embodiments, the sealable layers 182 can include a material which when heated to a first temperature forms a pealable seal and when heated to a second temperature forms a permanent seal.
  • [0027]
    In the illustrated embodiment, the second panel 174 includes a plurality of intercommunicating channels 175 configured to exhaust gas from the interior of the bag 160 when the first and second panels 164 and 174 are pressed together as shown in FIG. 4. Accordingly, when the lid 140 (FIG. 2) of the vacuum packaging appliance 110 (FIG. 2) is in the closed position and the bag 160 is sandwiched between the first and second seals 124 and 144 (FIG. 2), gas can be evacuated from the interior region 184 (FIG. 3) of the bag 160 through the channels 175. In other embodiments, the second panel 174 may not include the channels 175.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 5 is a schematic front isometric view of a vacuum packaging bag 260 in accordance with another embodiment of the invention. The bag 260 illustrated in FIG. 5 is generally similar to the bag 160 described above with reference to FIG. 3. For example, the illustrated bag 260 includes a first panel 164, a second panel 274 coupled to the first panel 164, and a first gusset 190 between the first and second panels 164 and 274. The illustrated bag 260, however, does not include a plurality of intercommunicating channels in the second panel 274. Moreover, the illustrated bag 260 includes a second gusset 293 between the first and second panels 164 and 274 and opposite the first gusset 190. The second gusset 293 includes a first portion 294 a attached to the first panel 164 at the third edge 168 c and a second portion 294 b attached to the second panel 274 at the third edge 178 c. The first and second gussets 190 and 293 accordingly increase the storage capacity of the bag 260. In other embodiments, the first and/or second panel 164 and/or 274 of the bag 260 may include a plurality of intercommunicating channels to facilitate the evacuation of gas from the bag 260.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 6 is a schematic front isometric view of a vacuum packaging bag 360 in accordance with another embodiment of the invention. The bag 360 illustrated in FIG. 6 is generally similar to the bag 260 described above with reference to FIG. 5. For example, the illustrated bag 360 includes a first panel 164, a second panel 274, a first gusset 190, and a second gusset 293. The illustrated bag 260, however, further includes a third gusset 396 between the first and second panels 164 and 274. The third gusset 396 includes a first portion 297 a attached to the first panel 164 at the second edge 168 b and a second portion 297 b attached to the second panel 274 at the second edge 178 b. The first, second, and third gussets 190, 293, and 369 accordingly increase the storage capacity of the bag 360.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 7 is a schematic front isometric view of a bag roll 461 for forming vacuum packaging bags in accordance with another embodiment of the invention. The illustrated bag roll 461 includes a first sheet 466, a second sheet 476 coupled to the first sheet 466, and an open end 462. The first sheet 466 includes a first edge 468 a and a second edge 468 c opposite the first edge 468 a, and the second sheet 476 includes a first edge 478 a and a second edge 478 c opposite the first edge 478 a. The first and second sheets 466 and 476 can include gas impermeable layers and sealable layers, similar to those described above with reference to FIG. 4. The bag roll 461 further includes (a) a first gusset 490 between the first edge 468 a of the first sheet 466 and the first edge 478 a of the second sheet 476, and (b) a second gusset 493 between the second edge 468 c of the first sheet 466 and the second edge 478 c of the second sheet 476. Bags are formed from the bag roll 461 by pulling out a portion of the first and second sheets 466 and 476, cutting the sheets 466 and 476, for example, along line B-B, and sealing one of the open ends.
  • [0031]
    FIG. 8 is a flow chart illustrating a method 500 according to one aspect of the invention. The method 500 begins at step 502 wherein a user cuts a portion of a bag roll, such as described above with reference to FIG. 7. In step 504, the user seals one of the two open ends of the portion of the bag roll. The step 504 may involve applying heat, pressure, or both, in a predefined range and for a predefined time period. For example, the end can be pealably or permanently sealed with the heating element 135 of the vacuum packaging appliance 110. If a user is using a preformed bag, however, the steps 502 and 504 are unnecessary. In step 506, the user places an object into the bag. In step 508, the user evacuates the bag. Evacuation typically involves placing the open end of the bag in the vacuum chamber of an appliance and closing the lid of the appliance. In step 510, the open end of the bag is sealed. The seal can be a pealable or permanent seal as described above with reference to the step 504. In step 512, the user stores the object in the sealed bag as desired.
  • [0032]
    As the side-gusseted portion of the bag has additional bag material, sealing tends to require more energy than bags not having the extra thickness of the side-gussets. This is not a difficult problem to compensate for, simply meaning that more energy must be used and perhaps users should be aware of this requirement to ensure that seals are properly made. Additionally, the side-gusseted bag may best be made from PE or PP materials as these seal more readily than competing nylon materials. However, any suitable material may be used as long as the proper care is taken.
  • [0033]
    From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that specific embodiments of the invention have been described herein for purposes of illustration, but that various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not limited except as by the appended claims.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification383/109, 383/105, 383/211, 383/120
International ClassificationB65D30/08
Cooperative ClassificationB65D31/10, B65D31/02, B65D81/2038
European ClassificationB65D31/10, B65D31/02, B65D81/20B3
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 7, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: TILIA INTERNATIOAL, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:WU, HONGYU;REEL/FRAME:015883/0879
Effective date: 20040924