|Publication number||US20060126975 A1|
|Application number||US 11/009,183|
|Publication date||Jun 15, 2006|
|Filing date||Dec 10, 2004|
|Priority date||Dec 10, 2004|
|Also published as||US20070237434, WO2006062787A2, WO2006062787A3|
|Publication number||009183, 11009183, US 2006/0126975 A1, US 2006/126975 A1, US 20060126975 A1, US 20060126975A1, US 2006126975 A1, US 2006126975A1, US-A1-20060126975, US-A1-2006126975, US2006/0126975A1, US2006/126975A1, US20060126975 A1, US20060126975A1, US2006126975 A1, US2006126975A1|
|Original Assignee||Mckellar Randy R|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (12), Referenced by (5), Classifications (11)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention relates to packaging and more particularly to easy open bags and methods of manufacturing such bags.
Modern packaging for food and other products often uses sealed bags having seams at one or more ends of the bag and an exposed seam that usually runs the entire length of the rear of the bag. Such bags have been conventionally made of a packaging material, such as a synthetic resin film or a laminated material formed by laminating the synthetic resin film and an aluminum foil or the like. The package bag is filled with a material to be packed, such as liquids, powders or viscous materials, before being hermetically sealed.
To open the package bag, therefore, it is common practice for a user of the products stored in the bag to cut a sealed portion of the package film as the packaging material with a knife or scissors or break it open with a fingertip. When the package bag is to be cut with a knife or scissors, the opening procedure is troublesome, as it requires a tool. When the package film is to be ruptured with a fingertip, the opening of the package film may not be accomplished easily. Unfortunately, the material from which these bags are made and the sealing of the seams can make the bag difficult to open.
There have been several attempts in the prior art to address the problem of opening sealed package bags. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,352,364 issued Mar. 5, 2002 to Mobs starts a tear on the side of the bag and then has the longitudinal seal cut to ease the tear through it. This requires that two cuts be aligned and also requires modification of the end seal.
Similarly, U.S. Pat. No. 6,343,876 issued Feb. 5, 2002 to Takahashi et al describes starting the tear on the side of a pouch that has seams running down each side and no rear seam.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,102,571 issued Aug. 15, 2000 to Moteki et al also initiates the tear from the side of the bag then has a second tear-able zone for tearing through the rear seam.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,371,997 issued Dec. 13, 1994 to Kopp et al describes a long and narrow bag with a longitudinal seam on one side of the bag with the tear being initiated from the side of the bag.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,067,306 issued Nov. 26, 1991 to Umezawa describes making micro cuts on the sides of the bag material as it is being packaged, but makes no mention of the problem tearing through the rear seam of the bag.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,725,329 issued Feb. 16, 1998 to Tani it uses a tear string to tear through the rear seam of a package bag. However, a tear string could be hard to manage on large bags like potato chips.
Thus, there is a need in the art, for an easy opening package bag and a method for manufacturing it.
According to an embodiment of the invention, a package bag may be made from a sheet of flexible packaging material that has been folded along a longitudinal direction with the edges of the sheet brought together and sealed to form a longitudinal rear seam. A starter cut is formed only in the rear seam to facilitate opening the package bag. The package bag may be opened by pulling in opposite directions on the longitudinal seam at points on either side of the starter cut.
According to another embodiment of the invention a composition of matter is provided for forming a package bag. This composition of matter includes a sheet of flexible roll stock having one or more notches formed at spaced apart locations along one or more edges of the sheet. When the sheet is folded such that the edges meet and are sealed to form a longitudinal rear seam, the notches provide a starter cut only in the rear seam for opening package bags formed from the sheet.
The teachings of the present invention can be readily understood by considering the following detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
Although the following detailed description contains many specific details for the purposes of illustration, anyone of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that many variations and alterations to the following details are within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the exemplary embodiments of the invention described below are set forth without any loss of generality to, and without imposing limitations upon, the claimed invention.
The rear seam 102 usually lies flat against the package bag 100 but can easily be lifted to provide finger grab points on both sides of the starter cut 104. Embodiments of the present invention work with any bag that has a seam that can be lifted from the bag. During manufacturing of the bag the rear seam 102 may be formed perpendicular to the rear surface of the bag and then folded over to lay flat against the bag. This makes it very handy to pull the seam up and use it to provide finger grab points for tearing the bag open.
In some embodiments, one or more guide strips 105, 107 are placed laterally across the package bag near the starter cut 104 to guide the tear that results when the rear seam 102 is pulled. The guide strips are made of tear-resistant material, such as plastic that are formed onto or into the material of the bag 100. A single guide strip may be used or, as shown in
Embodiments of the present invention may be used with other types of bags having a longitudinal rear seam. Examples of such bags include a gusseted bag 110 and a flat bottom bag 120, respectively depicted in
Package bags of the type described herein may be used to store any type of products commonly stored in sealed bags. Such products include, but are not limited to snacks, such as potato chips and pretzels, coffee, cheese, produce, candy, frozen foods, sealed medical products such as bandages, tape medicine, detergent, chemical powders, cosmetics among many others.
Package bags of the type described herein can be fabricated by a number of different techniques. Products are often packaged in bags using vertical form-fill machines or horizontal form-fill machines. Such machines form the bags from a continuous sheet of roll stock and fill them as the bags are fabricated.
The sheet 202 is drawn from a roll 204 over a series of rollers to a vertical form-fill tube 206. The sheet 202 wraps around the form-fill tube 206 and the edges of the sheet 202 are brought together to form the sheet 202 into a tube. A longitudinal sealer device 207 seals the edges of the sheet 202 together to form the rear seam 208 of a bag 210. An end sealer 211 then seals one end of the bag 210. Typically the edges and ends are sealed by some combination of heat and pressure. After the end is sealed the bag 210 is filled through the form-fill tube 206. Then the second end is sealed to close the bag 210. A shearing device 212 cuts the sheet 202 along the end seal to separate the bag from subsequent bag that is formed from the same sheet material 202. The shearing device 212 may leave part of the end seal on the bag 210 and part on the subsequent bag.
The starter cut described above can be made in the rear seam at any point in this procedure. For example a notch-cutting device 214, e.g., a sliding knife can cut a notch 215 in the rear seam 208 to form the starter cut. In
In an alternative embodiment, the starter cut may be made as part of the production of the roll stock used to form the bags. This is particularly advantageous in that such a roll stock can be used in an existing form-fill machine without having to modify the machine to make the starter cut in the rear seam.
One or more notches 306 are formed at spaced apart locations along one or more edges 308 of the sheet 302. When the sheet 302 is folded such that the edges 308 meet and are sealed to form a longitudinal rear seam, the notches 306 provide a starter cut for opening package bags formed from the sheet 302. In some embodiments a single notch is formed along one edge. In other embodiments, aligned notches 306 are formed in both edges 308 of the sheet 302. The aligned notches 306 overlap at least partially to form a starter cut all the way through the rear seam.
Embodiments of the present invention provide for easy opening bags with only minor modifications to existing packaging equipment and processes. Such easy open bags are more desirable for consumers and relatively inexpensive to manufacture compared to other types of easy open bags. Although the above discussion mentions vertical form-fill-seal systems, embodiments of the invention are not limited to such systems for making and filling bags. Other bag filling and sealing systems, such as horizontal fill machines and those that use pre-made bags, may be adapted to implement embodiments of the present invention.
While the above is a complete description of the preferred embodiment of the present invention, it is possible to use various alternatives, modifications and equivalents. Therefore, the scope of the present invention should be determined not with reference to the above description but should, instead, be determined with reference to the appended claims, along with their full scope of equivalents. In the claims that follow, the indefinite article “A”, or “An” refers to a quantity of one or more of the item following the article, except where expressly stated otherwise. The appended claims are not to be interpreted as including means-plus-function limitations, unless such a limitation is explicitly recited in a given claim using the phrase “means for.”
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7331153||Aug 31, 2006||Feb 19, 2008||Sealed Air Corporation (Us)||Apparatus and method for creating easy to open packages|
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|U.S. Classification||383/200, 383/120|
|International Classification||B65D33/00, B65D30/20|
|Cooperative Classification||B65B61/18, B65D75/5827, B65B61/02, B65B9/20|
|European Classification||B65B61/02, B65B61/18, B65D75/58E|