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Publication numberUS20060065566 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/955,772
Publication dateMar 30, 2006
Filing dateSep 30, 2004
Priority dateSep 30, 2004
Publication number10955772, 955772, US 2006/0065566 A1, US 2006/065566 A1, US 20060065566 A1, US 20060065566A1, US 2006065566 A1, US 2006065566A1, US-A1-20060065566, US-A1-2006065566, US2006/0065566A1, US2006/065566A1, US20060065566 A1, US20060065566A1, US2006065566 A1, US2006065566A1
InventorsRichard Steih
Original AssigneeSteih Richard J
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Container having label protection feature
US 20060065566 A1
Abstract
A blow molded plastic container adapted for label protection having an upper portion including a mouth defining an opening into the container, a lower portion forming a base and a sidewall connected with and extending between the upper portion and the lower portion. The sidewall defined in at least part by a textured surface area, a product label area and a label protection area. The textured surface area and the label protection area in combination providing label protection that is subtle and virtually indetectable.
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Claims(23)
1. A blow molded plastic container adapted for label protection, the container having an upper portion including a mouth defining an opening into the container, a lower portion forming a base, and a sidewall portion connected with and extending between said upper portion and said lower portion; said upper portion, said lower portion and said sidewall portion cooperating to define a receptacle chamber within the container into which product can be filled; said sidewall portion defined in at least part by a textured surface area, a product label area and a label protection area, said textured surface area and said label protection area in combination providing label protection that is virtually indetectable.
2. The container according to claim 1 wherein said textured surface area includes a plurality of indentations formed therein.
3. The container according to claim 2 wherein said plurality of indentations vary in size and are randomly spaced throughout said textured surface area.
4. The container according to claim 2 wherein said product label area is generally smooth and generally rectangular in shape.
5. The container according to claim 2 further comprising a front sidewall portion having a generally smooth, rectangularly shaped front product label area and a rear sidewall portion having a generally smooth, rectangularly shaped rear product label area.
6. The container according to claim 2 wherein said label protection area comprises a first label protection area above said product label area and a second label protection area below said product label area.
7. The container according to claim 6 wherein said first label protection area forms a first generally outward arcuate shaped surface in cross section and said second label protection area forms a second generally outward arcuate shaped surface in cross section.
8. A blow molded plastic container adapted for label protection, the container having an upper portion including a mouth defining an opening into the container, a lower portion forming a base, and a sidewall portion connected with and extending between said upper portion and said lower portion; said upper portion, said lower portion and said sidewall portion cooperating to define a receptacle chamber within the container into which product can be filled; said sidewall portion having a plurality of indentations formed therein, a product label area, a first label protection area and a second label protection area, said plurality of indentations, said first label protection area and said second label protection area in combination providing label protection that is virtually indetectable.
9. The container according to claim 8 wherein said plurality of indentations vary in size and are randomly spaced throughout said sidewall portion.
10. The container according to claim 9 wherein said product label area is generally smooth and generally rectangular in shape.
11. The container according to claim 9 further comprising a front sidewall portion having a generally smooth, rectangularly shaped front product label area and a rear sidewall portion having a generally smooth, rectangularly shaped rear product label area.
12. The container according to claim 9 wherein said first label protection area is located above said product label area and said second label protection area is located below said product label area.
13. The container according to claim 12 wherein said first label protection area forms a first generally outward arcuate shaped surface in cross section and said second label protection area forms a second generally outward arcuate shaped surface in cross section.
14. A blow molded plastic container comprising:
an upper portion defining a mouth;
a shoulder region formed with said upper portion and extending downward therefrom;
a lower portion forming a base of the container; and
a sidewall extending between and joining said shoulder region with said lower portion, said sidewall including a textured surface area, a product label area, a first label protection area and a second label protection area, said textured surface area, said first label protection area and said second label protection area in combination providing label protection that is virtually indetectable.
15. The container according to claim 14 wherein said textured surface area and said shoulder region include a plurality of indentations formed therein.
16. The container according to claim 15 wherein said plurality of indentations vary in size and are randomly spaced throughout said textured surface area and said shoulder region.
17. The container according to claim 15 wherein said product label area is generally smooth and generally rectangular in shape.
18. The container according to claim 15 further comprising a front sidewall portion having a generally smooth, rectangularly shaped front product label area and a rear sidewall portion having a generally smooth, rectangularly shaped rear product label area.
19. The container according to claim 15 wherein said first label protection area is located above said product label area and said second label protection area is located below said product label area.
20. The container according to claim 19 wherein said first label protection area forms a first generally outward arcuate shaped surface in cross section and said second label protection area forms a second generally outward arcuate shaped surface in cross section.
21. A method of creating a visual impression of a virtually indictable label protection for a plastic container profile, said method comprising the steps of:
creating said plastic container with a shoulder region, a sidewall portion and a base, said sidewall portion having a textured surface area, a product label area and a label protection area, said sidewall portion extending between and joining said shoulder region with said base; and
orienting said container at a point of sale such that said textured surface area, said product label area and said label protection area cooperate to provide said visual impression of a substantially straight vertical line in profile.
22. The method of claim 21 further comprising the step of:
affixing a product label to said product label area prior to sale which visually emphasizes the positive impact created by a product within said container.
23. The method of claim 21 further comprising the steps of:
filling said container with a product; and
capping said container prior to sale.
Description
TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention generally relates to plastic containers that retain a commodity. More specifically, this invention relates to a blow molded plastic container having a novel construction allowing for significant label protection that is virtually indetectable, improves the visual continuity of the container profile and promotes the positive impact crated by the container product label.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Traditionally, containers used for the storage of products for human consumption were made of glass. Typical desirable glass characteristics include transparency, indeformability and perfect label fixation. Nevertheless, because glass is fragile, easily breakable and heavy, it has become cost prohibitative, due to the high number of bottle breaks during handling. Moreover, as a result of breakage preventive measures and weight, the transportation expenses associated with glass greatly increases the cost of the product.

Numerous commodities previously supplied in glass containers are now being supplied in plastic containers, more specifically polyester and even more specifically polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers. Manufacturers and fillers, as well as consumers, have recognized that PET containers are lightweight, inexpensive, recyclable and manufacturable in large quantities.

Manufacturers currently supply PET containers for various liquid commodities, such as beverages. Manufacturers and fillers of high acid content commodities as well as non-high acid content commodities desire to supply their commodities in PET containers.

Due to the relative high cost of PET material, even slight increases in the weight of the material of the container will result in an excessive increase in its cost, making it less competitive in relation to the glass bottle, thereby resulting in the infeasibility of such a solution to the problem. Accordingly, reducing container weight, i.e., “lightweighting” the container, thus providing a significant cost savings from a material standpoint, is rather advantageous.

Typically, product label area protection has been accomplished by incorporating structure in the sidewall of the container. Primarily, this structure has taken the form of a ledge above and below the product label area. While somewhat commercially successful, these ledges create high stress points at their top and bottom edges, especially at the upper and lower corners of these ledges, and add weight and thus costs from a material standpoint. These stress points weaken the area of the sidewall near these edges, allowing the sidewall to collapse inwardly and/or fail during handling of the container or when containers are stacked together. These ledges also interrupt the visual continuity of the container profile, taking away from the positive impact generated by the product label.

One way to eliminate the concerns related to the above mentioned stress points is to increase the thickness of the container's sidewall, and specifically the ledges found in the product label area. Such an increase also increases the material cost for the container and the weight of the container, both of which are unacceptable options.

Containers subject to the above-described stresses have exhibited a somewhat limited ability to withstand loading forces during filling, capping, labeling and stacking for transporting or storage operations. As a result of this decreased container rigidity, containers are less able to resist loads imparted when the containers are stacked one upon another for storage and shipping (as is readily understood, it is important to be able to stack containers so as to maximize the use of shipping space). As a result of this type of loading, or when the container is dropped, the container can become deformed and undesirable to the consumer. A solution to these types of problems is critical as it would decrease the likelihood of a container becoming deformed and undesirable to the consumer.

Thus, there is a need for an improved container which is designed to accommodate and eliminate undesirable deformation in the container yet which allows for lightweighting, provides label protection that is virtually indetectable, improves the visual continuity of the container and promotes the positive impact created by the container product label.

With the foregoing in mind, a feature of the present invention is to provide novel lightweight plastic containers which provide virtually indetectable label protection and which are resistant to unwanted distortion.

In another feature of the present invention, the blow molded, lightweight plastic container provides improved visual continuity of the container profile and promotes the positive impact created by the container product label.

In another feature of the present invention, the blow molded, lightweight plastic container provides improved label protection and product label areas that minimize the stress points on the corners of the product label area edges, by substantially, if not completely, removing these stress points, and thereby provides lower failure rates.

In function of the above mentioned qualities, associated with its label protection and visual continuity, the proposed container is an extremely inexpensive and efficient means for the container user to promote its product, thus contributing to reinforce the positive image of its company in the marketplace. It is therefore a feature of this invention to provide such a container.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, this invention provides for a plastic container which maintains aesthetic and mechanical integrity during any subsequent handling having a structure that is designed to provide label protection that is virtually indetectable, improves the visual continuity of the container profile and promotes the positive impact created by the container product label without unwanted deformation.

In achieving the above and other objects, the present invention includes a blow molded plastic container having an upper portion, a sidewall portion and a base. The upper portion includes an opening defining a mouth of the container. The sidewall portion extends from the upper portion to the base. The sidewall portion defined in at least part by a textured surface area, a product label area and a label protection area. The textured surface area and the label protection area in combination provides label protection that is virtually indetectable.

Additional benefits and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art to which the present invention relates from the subsequent description of the preferred embodiment and the appended claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a container embodying the principles and constructed in accordance with the teachings of a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the container illustrated in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the container illustrated in FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a rear elevational view of the container illustrated in FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the container illustrated in FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the container taken generally along the line 6-6 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the container taken generally along the line 7-7 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 8 is an enlarged view of the sidewall portion of the container shown in FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The following description of the preferred embodiment is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the invention, its applications or uses.

As discussed above, to promote product label area protection, containers have been provided with ledges above and below the product label area. Traditionally, these ledges add structure, weight and thus costs from a material standpoint to the sidewall of the container, and create stress points which weaken the sidewall. These ledges further interrupt the visual continuity of the container profile, lessening the positive impact generated by the container product label.

Referring now to the drawings, there is depicted a blow molded plastic container 10 embodying the principles and concepts of the present invention. The container 10 of the present invention illustrated in FIGS. 1-8 is particularly suited for packaging of product, typically a liquid or beverage. The container 10 can be filled by automated, high speed equipment known in the art. After filling, the container 10 is sealed. The unique construction of the container 10 enables it to provide improved label area protection, improved visual continuity of the container profile and promote the positive impact created by the container product label. While designed for use in non-hot fill and non-thermal process applications, it is noted that the container 10 is also acceptable for hot-fill or thermal process applications. The teachings of the present invention are more broadly applicable to a large range of plastic containers.

The disclosed container structures can be made by stretch blow molding from an injection molded preform of any of several well known plastic materials. Accordingly, the plastic container 10 of the present invention is a blow molded container with an unitary construction from a single or multi-layer material such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin. Alternatively, the plastic container 10 may be formed by other methods and from other conventional materials including, for example, polyethylene napthalate (PEN), and a PET/PEN blend or copolymer. Plastic containers blow molded with an unitary construction from PET materials are known and used in the art of plastic containers, and their general manufacture in the present invention will be readily understood by a person of ordinary skill in the art.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1-4, the plastic container 10 of the present invention generally includes a finish 12, a shoulder region 14, a sidewall portion 16 and a base 18. The container 10, as illustrated in the figures, is in a shape commonly known and described as a “flask”. However, the teachings of the present invention are more broadly applicable to a large range of plastic container shapes and sizes.

The finish 12 of the plastic container 10 includes a portion defining an aperture or mouth 20, a threaded region 22 and a support ring 24. The aperture or mouth 20 allows the plastic container 10 to receive a commodity while the threaded region 22 provides a means for attachment of a similarly threaded closure or cap 26, shown in FIG. 4. Alternatives may include other suitable devices which engage the finish 12 of the plastic container 10. Accordingly, the closure or cap 26 functions to engage with the finish 12 so as to preferably provide a hermetical seal for the plastic container 10. The closure or cap 26 is preferably made from a plastic or metal material conventional to the closure industry. The support ring 24 may be used to carry or orient the preform (the precursor to the plastic container 10) (not shown) through and at various stages of manufacture. For example, the preform may be carried by the support ring 24, the support ring 24 may be used to aid in positioning the preform in the mold, or the support ring 24 may be used by an end consumer to carry the plastic container 10.

Integrally formed with the finish 12 and extending therefrom is the shoulder region 14. The shoulder region 14 surrounds the finish 12 and includes substantially flat surfaces which are generally parallel to the container 10 support surface. If anything, the shoulder region 14 extends slightly downward from the finish 12. While a preferred shoulder region 14 is illustrated in the figures, other shoulder region configurations can be utilized with the novel features of the present invention.

The shoulder region 14 merges into the sidewall portion 16. The shoulder region 14 provides a transition between the finish 12 and the sidewall portion 16. The sidewall portion 16 extends downward from the shoulder region 14 to the base 18. The sidewall portion 16 is constructed so as to provide label protection that is virtually indetectable, improves the visual continuity of the container profile and promotes the positive impact created by the container product label. Because of the specific construction of the shoulder region 14 and the sidewall portion 16, a lightweight container exhibiting the above mentioned attributes can be formed

The base 18 of the plastic container 10, which extends inward from the sidewall portion 16, generally includes a chime 28, a contact ring 30 and an inwardly, upwardly recessed portion 32. The base 18 is coaxial with the shoulder region 14, and is generally similar to the shoulder region 14 in shape and size. The contact ring 30 is itself that portion of the base 18 which contacts a support surface upon which the container 10 is supported. As such, the contact ring 30 may be a flat surface or a line of contact generally circumscribing, continuously or intermittently, the base 18. The inwardly, upwardly recessed portion 32 of the preferred embodiment of the invention is connected to and extends generally inward and upward from the lowermost portion of the chime 28. The inwardly, upwardly recessed portion 32 preferably has a truncated-cone shape, but may alternatively have a concave shape, a convex shape or any other suitable shape. The base 18 functions to close off the bottom portion of the plastic container 10 and, together with the shoulder region 14 and the sidewall portion 16, to retain the commodity. While a preferred base 18 is illustrated in the figures, other base configurations can be utilized with the novel features of the present invention.

The container 10, as illustrated in the figures, is in the shape and size commonly known and described as a “flask”. Accordingly, sidewall portion 16 includes a front sidewall portion 34, a rear sidewall portion 36 and two side portions 38 located diametrically opposite one another. As illustrated in FIG. 5, front sidewall portion 34 has a radius of curvature R1, throughout its arcuate extent. Similarly, rear sidewall portion 36 has a radius of curvature R2, throughout its arcuate extent. The radius of curvature R2 associated with the rear sidewall portion 36 is greater than the radius of curvature R1 associated with the front sidewall portion 34. The front sidewall portion 34 merges with and transitions into side portion 38 having a radius of curvature R3, while the rear sidewall portion 36 merges with and transitions into side portion 38 having a radius of curvature R4. The radius of curvature R4 associated with the transition between the rear sidewall portion 36 and the side portion 38 is greater than the radius of curvature R3 associated with the transition between the front sidewall portion 34 and the side portion 38. The front sidewall portion 34, the rear sidewall portion 36 and the two side portions 38 extend continuously in a longitudinal direction from the shoulder region 14 to the base 18. Together, the front sidewall portion 34, the rear sidewall portion 36 and the two side portions 38 form a continuous integral circumferential sidewall portion 16.

In order to provide label protection that is virtually indetectable, improve the visual continuity of the container profile and promote the positive impact created by the container product label, the shoulder region 14 and the sidewall portion 16 of the container 10 of the present invention adopt a novel and innovative construction.

To this end, the shoulder region 14, and the front sidewall portion 34, the rear sidewall portion 36 and the two side portions 38 of the sidewall portion 16 include indentations 40, 42 and 44 formed therein. Indentations 40, 42 and 44 are generally polygonal in shape and vary in size. The surface area of indentation 40 is approximately between about 0.15 inch2 (96.77 mm2) to about 0.09 inch2 (58.06 mm2), while the depth of indentation 40 is approximately between about 0.02 inch (0.51 mm) to about 0.04 inch (1.02 mm). The surface area of indentation 42 is approximately between about 0.09 inch2 (58.06 mm2) to about 0.04 inch2 (25.81 mm2), while the depth of indentation 42 is approximately between about 0.02 inch (0.51 mm) to about 0.04 inch (1.02 mm). The surface area of indentation 44 is approximately between about 0.04 inch2 (25.81 mm2) to about 0.03 inch2 (19.35 mm2), while the depth of indentation 44 is approximately between about 0.02 inch (0.51 mm) to about 0.04 inch (1.02 mm). Separating and defining indentations 40, 42 and 44 is web portion 46. The generally polygonal in shape and varying in size indentations 40, 42 and 44, along with the web portion 46, combine together to form textured patterned surfaces, rendering a visual appearance of random “hammer” marks, as if the shoulder region 14 and the sidewall portion 16 of the container 10 were hand made by a metal smith. As a result of the depth of indentations 40, 42 and 44, web portion 46 appears to be raised.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the front sidewall portion 34 of the sidewall portion 16 of the container 10 includes a product label area 48. The product label area 48 illustrated is generally smooth and generally rectangular in shape measuring approximately 3.780 inches (96.012 mm) long and approximately 2.283 inches (57.988 mm) wide. While a preferred product label area 48 is illustrated in the figures, other geometrical configurations can be utilized with the novel features of the present invention. As illustrated in FIG. 4, the rear sidewall portion 36 of the sidewall portion 16 of the container 10 includes a product label area 50. The product label area 50 illustrated is generally smooth and generally rectangular in shape measuring approximately 3.0 inches (76.2 mm) long and approximately 2.261 inches (57.429 mm) wide. Similar to the product label area 48 on the front sidewall portion 34, the product label area 50 on the rear sidewall portion 36 can be of any geometrical configuration. A label can be applied to product label areas 48 and 50 using methods that are well known to those skilled in the art, including adhesive methods.

The novel and innovative construction of the container 10 further includes an upper product label protection area 52 and a lower product label protection area 54. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the shoulder region 14 merges with and transitions into the upper product label protection area 52 of the front sidewall portion 34 of the sidewall portion 16. Thereafter, the upper product label protection area 52 merges with and transitions into the product label area 48. Integrally formed with the product label area 48 and extending downward therefrom is the lower product label protection area 54. The lower product label protection area 54 of the front sidewall portion 34 of the sidewall portion 16 then merges with and transitions into the base 18. Thus, the upper product label protection area 52 is located above the product label area 48, while the lower product label protection area 54 is located below the product label area 48.

Accordingly, as specifically illustrated in FIG. 8, the upper product label protection area 52 exhibits a generally outward arcuate shaped surface 56 extending downward from the shoulder region 14 to the product label area 48. Similarly, the lower product label protection area 54 exhibits a generally outward arcuate shaped surface 58 extending upward from the base 18 to the product label area 48. Generally, outward arcuate shaped surface 56 has a radius of curvature designated as R5. Generally, outward arcuate shaped surface 58 has a radius of curvature designated as R6. Typically, radius of curvature R5 of the generally outward arcuate shaped surface 56 and radius of curvature R6 of the generally outward arcuate shaped surface 58 measure approximately between about 1.969 inch (50 mm) to about 3.937 inch (100 mm). The generally outward arcuate shaped surfaces 56 and 58, individually can be described as bulges. While in combination with the product label area 48, generally outward arcuate shaped surfaces 56 and 58 can be described as defining a hourglass silhouette.

In visual appearance, the application of the hammer like, textured patterned surface of the front sidewall portion 34, having indentations 40, 42 and 44 formed therein, of the container 10 serves to disguise and hide the radii of curvature R5 and R6 associated with generally outward arcuate shaped surfaces 56 and 58, thereby, providing subtle, virtually indetectable or hidden label protection. Accordingly, the visual appearance of the container 10 is enhanced by the interrelationship between the hammer like, textured patterned surface of the front sidewall portion 34, having indentations 40, 42 and 44 formed therein, of the container 10 with the generally outward arcuate shaped surface 56 of the upper product label protection area 52, the product label area 48 and the generally outward arcuate shaped surface 58 of the lower product label protection area 54, while at the same time providing label protection that is subtle, virtually indetectable, improving the visual continuity of the entire container 10 profile and promoting the positive impact created by the container product label.

While the above description constitutes the preferred embodiment of the present invention, it will be appreciated that the invention is susceptible to modification, variation and change without departing from the proper scope and fair meaning of the accompanying claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US20100000963 *Apr 25, 2007Jan 7, 2010Manabu InomataPlastic bottle
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/459.5, 215/383
International ClassificationB65D85/00, B65D90/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65D1/0223, B65D1/0207, B65D2203/02
European ClassificationB65D1/02D, B65D1/02B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 3, 2004ASAssignment
Owner name: AMCOR LIMITED, AUSTRALIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:STEIH, RICHARD J.;REEL/FRAME:015955/0884
Effective date: 20040927