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Publication numberUS20060131202 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/018,680
Publication dateJun 22, 2006
Filing dateDec 22, 2004
Priority dateDec 22, 2004
Publication number018680, 11018680, US 2006/0131202 A1, US 2006/131202 A1, US 20060131202 A1, US 20060131202A1, US 2006131202 A1, US 2006131202A1, US-A1-20060131202, US-A1-2006131202, US2006/0131202A1, US2006/131202A1, US20060131202 A1, US20060131202A1, US2006131202 A1, US2006131202A1
InventorsScott Kramer
Original AssigneeScott Kramer
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Redundant reusable high volume cushion
US 20060131202 A1
Abstract
A redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes comprised of redundant cushion areas having two or four discrete areas comprised of redundant geometrically shaped chambers creating a high volume cushion. The redundant cushion areas facilitates absorption of impact upon the cushion by permitting redistribution of an inflation gas, e.g., air, from an area of impact to a non-impacted area within the same cushion. Entry/exit tandem tubes control the flow of inflation gas into and/or out of the cushion.
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Claims(4)
1. A redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes for cushioning articles during shipping and handling, said redundant reusable high volume cushion made of a first and second outer film layers, said first and second film layers being secured together along an outer perimeter to define the refillable tandem tubes permitting cushion reusability.
2. A redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes comprised of a plurality of inflatable conical shaped chambers configured to redistribute an inflation gas contained therein from one or more conical shaped chambers compressed by and external impact to at least one contiguous conical shaped chamber which is not impacted.
3. The system of claim 2, wherein said conical shaped chambers maximize cushion height for impact protection, said cushion height respective of available chamber height, determined by base width of conical chambers provided.
4. A Redundant Reusable High Volume Cushion with refillable tandem tubes supporting four cushion areas, to cushion articles during shipping and handling, redundant reusable high volume cushion use the inner volume to form four separate cushion areas conical shaped areas providing a high volume profile.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention is directed to impact-resistant redundant reusable high volume cushions for protecting articles during shipping from shock and damage and, more particularly, to a reusable, inflatable multi-area redundant reusable high volume material that provides a higher fill volume profile, provided with an air entry portal adapted for permitting independent inflation/deflation of redundant areas.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

When articles are packaged in a container for shipping, void spaces are typically created between the article and the inner surface of the container. Packaged articles come in a variety of shapes, thus producing a plurality of irregularly shaped voids. A redundant reusable high volume material is thus commonly inserted within these voids to cushion and protect the packaged article during shipping.

It is known, therefore, to at least partially surround shipped articles with redundant reusable high volume materials having a variety of shapes and sizes such as StyrofoamŪ “chips,” injected StyrofoamŪ moldings, “bubble” mats and other energy absorptive materials. “Bubble” mats, are intended to wrap close to the shipped item providing an enclosure that protects the item, but the spaces between the “bubble” mat protected item and the interior surfaces of the container are largely filled with a volume of a loose fill type material StyrofoamŪ “chips,” and other particulate redundant reusable high volume materials provide a loose fill and the packaged article may settle during transport, reducing the cushioning effect. Moreover all of the above—described redundant reusable high volume materials are themselves voluminous to both ship and store. In addition, they could create waste disposal problems with attendant problems of environmental degradation.

In an effort to overcome the problems noted above, various forms of inflated cushions have been utilized. Such cushions are well known and have been commonly used for some time in the shipment of goods. Several useful examples of inflatable cushions are illustrated in, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,427,830; 5,447,235 and 5,487,470 to David A. Pharo. The inflatable packaging systems described therein, and throughout the prior art have been faced with a number of design challenges, however.

For example, some of the inflatable cushions include only a single inflatable area, such that a failure at any location in the packaging material will lead to a total deflation of the system, thus resulting in a total loss of function. Other examples include cushions with a plurality of interconnected inflatable areas, i.e., providing, a “quilted” appearance to the cushion. This arrangement still remains prone, however, to the deflation problem described above. Still other embodiments comprise a plurality of discrete, i.e., separate, chambers, which do not, as is desirable, permit redistribution of air within the cushion, i.e., from one chamber to another, upon impact to the outer surface of one or more such chambers. Additionally, many such prior art inflatable redundant reusable high volume systems are further subject to other problems, as described below, caused due to the use of valve systems that may channel air under impact pressure directly toward the valve cap forcing open the valve, or self-sealing valves that are most effective when cushions maintain a consistent pressure once inflated, this consistent pressure provides a back pressure helping to make the valve self-sealing. Thus, the dimensions of these inflatable cushions may find it difficult to adjust to different sized voids within a redundant reusable high volume container. Still further, due to the very nature of the self-sealing valves such inflatable devices are typically not readily reusable since it is difficult, if not impossible, to empty the air out of an inflated cushion or cushion without reducing the useful life of each cushion, i.e. puncturing the cushion or disrupting the self-sealing properties.

It is thus readily apparent that there exists a long-felt need, which is satisfied by the present invention as described herein, for a reliable, efficient, adjustably inflatable protective packaging cushion, with redundant areas and a higher volume profile, for protecting fragile and/or valuable items during shipping. The present invention meets these requirements with a simple design that is readily and conveniently manufactured from inexpensive starting materials. It may be used, and reused, for an unlimited variety of shapes and sizes of product being packaged. The protective inflatable cushion that is self-adapting to the size and shape of the item being packaged, which will not settle during shipment, and that will secure itself around the object to be shipped while substantially filling all of the void spaces between the object and the outer container. The object of the invention is thus relatively simple to ship and store and it is cost competitive with presently existing systems.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore an object of the invention to provide a redundant, reusable high volume cushion formed with at least two separately inflatable and deflatable redundant areas, adapted to facilitate absorption of impact to the cushion and to redistribute air from redundant area compressed by the impact to alternate redundant areas.

It is another object of the invention to provide chambers with a conical shape or configuration such that, maximum inflated cushion height can be achieved in a redundant area format, by balancing these conical chambers it is possible to provide security in the event one air chamber is punctured in that adjacent unaffected (i.e., unpunctured) redundant area will assist in maintaining the inflated height of the cushion upon such an event due to crossing-over of said redundant areas provided by cushion redundant area layout.

It is another object of the invention to provide an inflatable, redundant reusable high volume cushion wherein the flow of air into the cushion is controlled by refillable tandem tubes creating at least one area entry/exit portal which, due to its design and construction, allows this portal to withstand a significant air pressure caused due to impact, i.e., causing compression, upon one of the inflated redundant areas of the cushion, without forcing the portal open.

These and other objects of the invention are achieved through the use of an inflatable, redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes as described and illustrated herein.

In a first embodiment the invention is directed to a two area redundant reusable high volume cushion which, areas can be aligned side by side comprising a two area entry/exit portal tube. Areas can also be aligned top and bottom, and right and left sides wherein each said area directs impacted air pressure through the central core of the cushion layout, also utilizing a two area entry/exit portal tube. In a further embodiment, the redundant reusable high volume cushion of the invention comprises a four area redundant reusable high volume cushion utilizing a four area refillable tandem tubes entry/exit portal tube wherein each said area controls the flow of air into and out of a separate said area. The four area cushion offers additional protection from accidental deflation throughout the handling process.

The system of invention was designed with redundant areas, each formed with redundant air chambers, in a single redundant reusable high volume cushion to allow each cushion the ability to absorb impact by distributing air to chambers not compressed by impact. That is, the cushion comprises at least two inflation areas, and each said area may be further broken down into a plurality of inflatable chambers. The redundant reusable high volume cushion of the invention can be manufactured in a variety of shapes and sizes, that utilize a tapered redundant cushion area to deliver the high volume developed through the conical taper, or conical like taper and from a variety of materials as well. FIG. 1, FIG. 15 and FIG. 12, FIG. 25, illustrating, respectively, a two area and a four area cushion, FIG. 1 and FIG. 15, display an exemplary geometric design for the cushion chambers wherein said chambers are conical shaped and use the maximum film surface, providing a high volume profile with added redundant area format security. The invention is not limited, however, to the particular arrangement portrayed in the subject drawing figures. That is, whereas a conical configuration is preferred, the chambers of the cushion of the invention are not limited to a conical shape and may, instead, be configured in a variety of alternate shapes that provide a conical like taper. In the illustrated embodiment, the cushion fill height can be increased by making the conical chambers larger. Cushions can also be made longer and shorter by adding or subtracting cones from a design layout. This flexibility of design thus provides a custom system useful for a variety of applications, while still offering the same degree of area security.

The ability to be inflated or deflated (see, e.g., FIG. 1 and FIG. 11, FIG. 15 and FIG. 24) as the task requires, provides a reusable redundant reusable high volume cushion for all users in the shipping cycle. The redundant reusable high volume cushion of the invention can be stored deflated when not in use, thus reducing storage space requirements.

The system of the invention, comprising a redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes at least one, area entry/exit portal, is inflated and deflated through the use of the area entry/exit portal tube and requires no special equipment to operate. The cushions can be filled by mouth or with compressed air, allowing the end user to store, reuse and recycle this redundant reusable high volume fill. The system of the invention, comprising a redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes can be stored as raw film material, assembled and inflated by the manufacturer, then deflated by the end user by cutting the refillable tandem tubes air portals and reused by the end user, by putting air back into the refillable tandem tubes air portal, providing once again the redundant reusable high volume cushion. Security against unintended deflation is thus provided through area design and the entry/exit portal tube tuck-away as further described herein.

The redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes may be printed with a company logo or other graphics inside and out, thus allowing redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes to be a marketing image piece.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing objects and other advantages of the present invention will be more fully understood from the following detailed description and reference to the appended drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of the side by side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a side by side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes

FIG. 3 is a component view of the side by side two-area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes, illustrating relationship between the A and B film entry/exit portal tube and area conical air chamber layout.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an inflated side by side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes, illustrating the inflated entry/exit portal tube and the interior area layout.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an inflated side by side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes,

FIG. 6 is a perspective close-up view of an inflated side by side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion, illustrating the inflated entry/exit portal tube

FIG. 7 is a close-up front view of an inflated side by side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes, illustrating the inflated entry/exit portal tube

FIG. 8 is a close-up front view of the side by side two-area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes, illustrating the inflated entry/exit portal tube with the first closing fold.

FIG. 9 is a close-up front view of the side by side two-area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes, illustrating the inflated entry/exit portal tube with the second closing fold.

FIG. 10 is a close-up front view of side by side two-area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes, illustrating the inflated entry/exit portal tube in the tuck-away position.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an inflated side by side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes, illustrating the closed tuck-away position of the entry/exit portal tube.

FIG. 12 is a component view of the side by side four-area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes, illustrating relationship between the A and B film entry/exit portal tube and area conical air chamber layout and the center C film that creates the four areas.

FIG. 13 is a top plan view of the side by side two-area or four-area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes, illustrating layout orientation of two separate cushions in a production layout

FIG. 14 is a top plan view of the side by side two-area or four-area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes, illustrating layout orientation of two separate cushions and additional similar arranged cushions in a production layout to accommodate rolled or sheet film raw material.

FIG. 15 is a top plan view of the top to bottom and side to side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a top to bottom and side to side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes.

FIG. 17 is a component view of the top to bottom and side to side two-area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes, illustrating relationship between the A and B film entry/exit portal tube, central core film and area conical air chamber layout.

FIG. 18 is a top perspective view of the top to bottom and side to side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion central core film, illustrating the heat-weld seams in the A film that create air passage to the area two air chambers.

FIG. 19 is a through perspective view of the top to bottom and side to side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes central core film, illustrating the heat-weld seams in the B film that create air passage to the area one air chambers and their relationship to area two air passageway.

FIG. 20 is a through perspective view of the top to bottom and side to side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion with A and B films connected only at the central core film, illustrating the refillable tandem tubes created by the B film air passage for area one air chambers and the A film air passageway for area two air chambers

FIG. 21 is a completed sealed perspective view of FIG. 20, illustrating the relationship of area one and two air chambers and the central core film.

FIG. 22 is a perspective view of an inflated top to bottom and side to side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes, illustrating an open entry/exit portal tube.

FIG. 23 is a close-up view of an inflated top to bottom and side to side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion, illustrating an open entry/exit portal tube.

FIG. 24 is a perspective view of an inflated top to bottom and side to side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion, illustrating the closed position of the entry/exit portal tube in the tuck-away pocket.

FIG. 25 is a component view of the top to bottom and side to side four-area redundant reusable high volume cushion, illustrating relationship between the A and B film entry/exit portal tube, first and second central core film and area conical air chamber layout and the center C film that creates the four areas.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention is therefore directed to a redundant reusable high volume cushion with refillable tandem tubes wherein inflation and deflation of each area is independently controlled by and entry/exit portal comprised of a entry/exit portal tube and portal tube tuck-away, and further wherein each said area is comprised of a plurality of, preferably cone-shaped, chambers configured and adapted to help absorb an impact thereupon and, upon such impact, to redistribute air within the cushion from a compressed chamber to a non-compressed chamber, for improving the reliability of the cushion.

Turning now to a description of the components illustrated in the drawing figures, which is thereafter followed by a discussion of how these various components work together in the invention,

FIG. 1 illustrates top plan view of a side by side two area cushion first conical air chamber of area one (1), area one passageway (2), connecting air chamber one (1) and conical air chamber two (3) In area one. First conical air chamber of area two (7), area two passageway (6), connecting air chamber one (7) and conical air chamber two (5) In area two. Entry/exit Portal Tube (12), controlling airflow into and out of the cushion. Area one entry/exit passageway (14), allowing air movement through area one portal (9). Area two entry/exit passageway (13), allowing air movement through area two portal (10). Tuck-away (8), creating a pocket to secure the closed entry/exit Portal Tube (12). Extra wide heat welded outer seam (4), seam reduction at entry/exit portal tube (11).

FIG. 2 illustrates perspective view of a side by side two area cushion first conical air chamber of area one (1), area one passageway FIG. 1 (2), connecting air chamber one (1) and conical air chamber two (3) In area one. Entry/exit refillable tandem Portal Tube (12), controlling air flow into and out of the cushion. Area one entry/exit passageway (14), allowing air movement through area one portal FIG. 1(9). Area two entry/exit passageway (13), allowing air movement through area two portal FIG. 1(10).

FIG. 3 illustrates component view of a side by side two area cushion, with A and B film layouts first conical air chamber of area one layout on film A (1 a), area one passageway FIG. 1 (2), connecting air chamber one layout in film A (1 a) and conical air chamber two layout on film A (3 a) In area one. First conical air chamber layout on film A of area two (7 a), area two passageway layout on film A (6 a), connecting air chamber one layout on film A (7 a) and conical air chamber two layout on film A (5 a) In area two. Entry/exit refillable tandem Portal Tube layout on film A (12 a), controlling air flow into and out of the cushion. Area one entry/exit passageway layout on film A (14 a), allowing air movement through area one portal FIG. 1 (9). Area two entry/exit passageway layout on film A (13 a), allowing air movement through area two portal FIG. 1 (10). Tuck-away (8), creating a pocket to secure the closed entry/exit refillable tandem Portal Tube FIG. 1 (12) first conical air chamber of area one layout on film B (1 b), area one passageway FIG. 1 (2), connecting air chamber one layout in film B (1 b) and conical air chamber two layout on film B (3 b) In area one. First conical air chamber layout on film B of area two (7 b), area two passageway layout on film B (6 b), connecting air chamber one layout on film B (7 b) and conical air chamber two layout on film B (5 b) In area two.

FIG. 4 illustrates perspective view of inflated side by side two area cushion first conical air chamber of area one (1), area one passageway (2), connecting air chamber one (1) and conical air chamber two (3) In area one. First conical air chamber of area two (7), area two passageway (6), connecting air chamber one (7) and conical air chamber two (5) In area two. Entry/exit Portal Tube FIG. 1(12), controlling airflow into and out of the cushion. Area one entry/exit passageway (14), allowing air movement through area one portal FIG. 1(9). Area two entry/exit passageway (13), allowing air movement through area two portal FIG. 1 (10). Tuck-away (8), creating a pocket to secure the closed entry/exit Portal Tube (12).

FIG. 5 illustrates perspective view of inflated side by side two area cushion with the refillable tandem entry/exit portal tube in the open position

FIG. 6 is a perspective close-up view of an inflated side by side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion, illustrating the inflated entry/exit portal tube, first conical air chamber of area one (1), First conical air chamber of area two (7), Tuck-away (8), Entry/exit Portal Tube (12), controlling airflow into and out of the cushion. Area one entry/exit passageway (14), allowing air movement through area one portal FIG. 1(9). Area two entry/exit passageway (13), allowing air movement through area two portal FIG. 1 (10).

FIG. 7 is a close-up front view of an inflated side by side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion, illustrating the inflated entry/exit portal tube (12), first conical air chamber of area one (1), First conical air chamber of area two (7), Tuck-away (8)

FIG. 8 is a close-up front view of the side by side two-area redundant reusable high volume cushion, illustrating the inflated entry/exit portal tube (12), with the first closing fold first conical air chamber of area one (1), First conical air chamber of area two (7), Tuck-away (8)

FIG. 9 is a close-up front view of the side by side two-area redundant reusable high volume cushion, illustrating the inflated entry/exit portal tube (12), with the second closing fold first conical air chamber of area one (1), First conical air chamber of area two (7), Tuck-away (8)

FIG. 10 is a close-up front view of side by side two-area redundant reusable high volume cushion, illustrating the inflated entry/exit portal tube (12), in the tuck-away position first conical air chamber of area one (1), First conical air chamber of area two (7), Tuck-away (8)

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an inflated side by side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion, illustrating the closed tuck-away position of the entry/exit portal tube (12), first conical air chamber of area one (1), area one passageway FIG. 1 (2), connecting air chamber one (1) and conical air chamber two (3) In area one. First conical air chamber of area two (7), area two passageway FIG. 1(6), connecting air chamber one (7) and conical air chamber two (5) In area two. Entry/exit Portal Tube (12), controlling airflow into and out of the cushion. Area one entry/exit passageway FIG. 1 (14), allowing air movement through area one portal FIG. 1(9). Area two entry/exit passageway FIG. 1(13), allowing air movement through area two portal FIG. 1 (10). Tuck-away (8), creating a pocket to secure the closed entry/exit Portal Tube (12).

FIG. 12 illustrates component view of a side by side four area cushion, with A and B film layouts and the third film C (15), that divides the cushion in half creating the four areas, the first area is divided into areas one and three, and the second area is divided into areas two and four. First conical air chamber of area one layout on film A (1 a), area one passageway FIG. 1 (2), connecting air chamber one layout in film A (1 a) and conical air chamber two layout on film A (3 a) In area one, film C (15) divide this area in half allowing film A and film B to create areas one and three. First conical air chamber layout on film A of area two (7 a), area two passageway layout on film A (6 a), connecting air chamber one layout on film A (7 a) and conical air chamber two layout on film A (5 a) In area two, film C (15) divide this area in half allowing film A and film B to create areas two and four. Entry/exit Portal Tube layout on film A (12 a), controlling air flow into and out of the cushion. Area one entry/exit passageway layout on film A (14 a), allowing air movement through area one portal FIG. 1 (9). Area two entry/exit passageway layout on film A (13 a), allowing air movement through area two portal FIG. 1 (10), film C (15) divides the portal tube into four entry/exit tubes supporting four areas. Tuck-away (8), creating a pocket to secure the closed entry/exit Portal Tube FIG. 1 (12) first conical air chamber of area one layout on film B (1 b), area one passageway FIG. 1 (2), connecting air chamber one layout in film B (1 b) and conical air chamber two layout on film B (3 b) In area one, film C (15) divide this area in half allowing film A and film B to create areas one and three. First conical air chamber layout on film B of area two (7 b), area two passageway layout on film B (6 b), connecting air chamber one layout on film B (7 b) and conical air chamber two layout on film B (5 b) In area two, film C (15) divide this area in half allowing film A and film B to create areas two and four.

FIG. 13 is a top plan view of the side by side two-area or four-area redundant reusable high volume cushion, illustrating layout orientation of two separate cushions in a production layout Cushions are arranged to create a production pair improving raw material film usage.

FIG. 14 is a top plan view of the side by side two-area or four-area redundant reusable high volume cushion, illustrating layout orientation of two separate cushions and additional similar arranged cushions in a production layout to accommodate rolled or sheet film raw material. Production pairs can be rolled or stamped out of film rolls or film sheets for efficient production.

FIG. 15 illustrates top plan view of a top to bottom and side to side two area cushion first conical air chamber of area one (1), area one passageway (2), connecting air chamber one (1) and conical air chamber two (3) In area one. First conical air chamber of area two (7), area two passageway (6), connecting air chamber one (7) and conical air chamber two (5) In area two. Entry/exit Portal Tube (12), controlling airflow into and out of the cushion. Area one entry/exit passageway (14), allowing air movement through area one portal (9) . Area two entry/exit passageway (13), allowing air movement through area two portal (10). Tuck-away (8), creating a pocket to secure the closed entry/exit Portal Tube (12). Extra wide heat welded outer seam (4), seam reduction at entry/exit portal tube (11). Central core film (16), that creates the passageway (2), for area one air chambers and passageway (6), for area two air chambers.

FIG. 16 illustrates perspective view of a top to bottom and side to side two area cushion first conical air chamber of area one (1), area one passageway FIG. 15 (2), connecting air chamber one (1) and conical air chamber two (3) In area one. Entry/exit Portal Tube (12), controlling air flow into and out of the cushion. Area one entry/exit passageway FIG. 15 (14), allowing air movement through area one portal FIG. 15 (9). Area two entry/exit passageway FIG. 15 (13), allowing air movement through area two portal FIG. 15 (10). Tuck-away (8), creating a pocket to secure the closed entry/exit Portal Tube (12).

FIG. 17 is a component view of the top to bottom and side to side two-area redundant reusable high volume cushion, illustrating relationship between the A film, B film and central core film (16), first conical air chamber of area one layout on film A (1 a), area one passageway FIG. 15 (2), connecting air chamber one layout in film A (1 a) and conical air chamber two layout on film A (3 a) In area one. First conical air chamber layout on film A of area two (7 a), area two passageway layout on film A (6 a), connecting air chamber one layout on film A (7 a) and conical air chamber two layout on film A (5 a) In area two. Entry/exit Portal Tube layout on film A (12 a), controlling air flow into and out of the cushion. Area one entry/exit passageway layout on film A (14 a), allowing air movement through area one portal FIG. 15 (9). Area two entry/exit passageway layout on film A (13 a), allowing air movement through area two portal FIG. 1 (10). Tuck-away (8), creating a pocket to secure the closed entry/exit Portal Tube FIG. 15 (12), first conical air chamber of area one layout on film B (1 b), area one passageway FIG. 15 (2), connecting air chamber one layout in film B (1 b) and conical air chamber two layout on film B (3 b) In area one. First conical air chamber layout on film B of area two (7 b), area two passageway layout on film B (6 b), connecting air chamber one layout on film B (7 b) and conical air chamber two layout on film B (5 b) In area two. Central core film (16), that creates the passageway FIG. 15 (2), for area one air chambers and passageway FIG. 15 (6), for area two air chambers.

FIG. 18 is a top perspective view of the top to bottom and side to side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion central core film FIG. 15 (16), illustrating the heat-weld seams (17),in the A film that create air passageway (6) for the area two air chambers FIG. 15 (7) (5). Reference FIG. 17 (1 a) and (5A) for film positions.

FIG. 19 is a through perspective view of the top to bottom and side to side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion central core film FIG. 15 (16), illustrating the heat-weld seams (19), in the B film that create air passageway (2), for the area one air chambers FIG. 15 (1) (3), and their relationship to area two air passageway (6). Reference FIG. 17 (1 a),(5 a),(1 b),(5 b) for film positions.

FIG. 20 is a through perspective view of the top to bottom and side to side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion with A and B films connected only at the central core film FIG. 17 (16), illustrating the B film air passageway (2), created by heat welds FIG. 19 (19), for area one air chambers FIG. 15 (1) (3), and the A film air passageway (6), created by heat weld FIG. 18 (17), for area two air chambers FIG. 15 (7) (5). Reference FIG. 17 (1 a),(5 a),(1 b),(5 b) for film positions.

FIG. 21 is a completed sealed perspective view of FIG. 20, illustrating the relationship of area one and two air chambers and the central core film (16), first conical air chamber of area one (1), area one passageway (2), connecting air chamber one (1) and conical air chamber two (3) In area one. First conical air chamber of area two (7), area two passageway (6), connecting air chamber one (7) and conical air chamber two (5) In area two. Entry/exit Portal Tube FIG. 15 (12), controlling airflow into and out of the cushion. Central core film (16) that creates the passageway (2), for area one air chambers and passageway (6), for area two air chambers.

FIG. 22 is a perspective view of an inflated top to bottom and side to side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion, illustrating an open entry/exit portal tube (12), first conical air chamber of area one (1), area one passageway FIG. 15 (2), connecting air chamber one (1) and conical air chamber two (3) In area one. First conical air chamber of area two (7), area two passageway FIG. 15 (6), connecting air chamber one (7) and conical air chamber two (5) In area two. Entry/exit Portal Tube (12), controlling airflow into and out of the cushion. Area one entry/exit passageway FIG. 15(14), allowing air movement through area one portal FIG. 15 (9). Area two entry/exit passageway (13), allowing air movement through area two portal FIG. 15 (10). Tuck-away (8), creating a pocket to secure the closed entry/exit Portal Tube (12).

FIG. 23 is a close-up view of an inflated top to bottom and side to side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion FIG. 22, illustrating an open entry/exit portal tube (12).

FIG. 24 is a perspective view of an inflated top to bottom and side to side two area redundant reusable high volume cushion, illustrating the closed position of the entry/exit portal tube (12), in the tuck-away pocket (8), first conical air chamber of area one (1), area one passageway FIG. 15 (2), connecting air chamber one (1) and conical air chamber two (3) In area one. First conical air chamber of area two (7), area two passageway FIG. 15 (6), connecting air chamber one (7) and conical air chamber two (5) In area two. Entry/exit Portal Tube (12), controlling airflow into and out of the cushion in the closed tuck-away position.

FIG. 25 is a component view of the top to bottom and side to side four-area redundant reusable high volume cushion, illustrating relationship between the A and B film entry/exit portal tube (12), first and second central core film (16), (21), and the center C film (22) that creates the four areas, separating area one into areas one and three, and separating area two into area two and four. First conical air chamber of area one layout on film A (1 a), area one passageway FIG. 15 (2), connecting air chamber one layout in film A (1 a) and conical air chamber two layout on film A (3 a) In area one, film C divide this area in half allowing film A and film B to create areas one and three. First conical air chamber layout on film A of area two (7 a), area two passageway layout on film A (6 a), connecting air chamber one layout on film A (7 a) and conical air chamber two layout on film A (5 a) In area two, film C divide this area in half allowing film A and film B to create areas two and four. Entry/exit Portal Tube layout on film A (12 a), controlling air flow into and out of the cushion. Area one entry/exit passageway layout on film A (14 a), allowing air movement through area one portal FIG. 15 (9). Area two entry/exit passageway layout on film A (13 a), allowing air movement through area two portal FIG. 1 (10). Tuck-away (8), creating a pocket to secure the closed entry/exit Portal Tube FIG. 15 (12), first conical air chamber of area one layout on film B (1 b), area one passageway FIG. 15 (2), connecting air chamber one layout in film B (1 b) and conical air chamber two layout on film B (3 b) In area one, film C divide this area in half allowing film A and film B to create areas one and three. First conical air chamber layout on film B of area two (7 b), area two passageway layout on film B (6 b), connecting air chamber one layout on film B (7 b) and conical air chamber two layout on film B (5 b) In area two, film C divide this area in half allowing film A and film B to create areas two and four. Central core film (16), that creates the passageway FIG. 15 (2), for area one air chambers and passageway FIG. 15 (6), for area two air chambers.

As shown in the accompanying drawing figures, the present system includes everything needed to provide a redundant reusable high volume system that can be inflated, deflated, and reused. The redundant reusable high volume cushion of this invention is thus designed to hold an item or inner package secure in a exterior shipping carton. The redundant reusable high volume cushion may be configured, in a first embodiment in a two area format (Side by Side areas FIG. 1, and Top to Bottom Side to Side FIG. 15) wherein the two areas are created by bonding two film sheets together (Side by Side FIG. 3 and Top to Bottom Side to Side FIG. 17) to provide air chambers for each area, and, in a second embodiment, with a four area design (Side by Side areas FIG. 12 and Top to Bottom Side to Side areas FIG. 25) created by heat welding three full film sheets, ((FIG. 12, FIG. 25) with the central core film (16)(21) FIG. 25, for the top to bottom side to side design (FIG. 15)) together, with the central film sheet (see (15) in FIG. 12, and, (22) in FIG. 25) creating the air chambers for each area.

Additional security is provided by the use of a geometric, heat welded design providing controlled areas to receive impact compressed air (see FIG. 1 (1) (3) (7) (5), and FIG. 15 (1)(3) (7) (5) within the cushion. Extra wide exterior seam (FIG. 1 (4)) and narrower interior field seams add cushion integrity by allowing severe impact to open an interior seam moving air into adjacent areas, instead of an exterior seam rupture, allowing air to escape the cushion enclosure.

Additional cushion volume is provided by the layout of each geometric format, shape are placed side by side, maximizing the inflated cushion surface, and providing greater depth in cushion height.

Cushion areas each comprise redundant interconnected air chambers to provide each cushion with the maximum ability to absorb impact by distributing air to chambers not compressed by impact. The cushions of the invention may be formed of any number and type of film substrates that can be welded together by, e.g., applying heat, or by an electrical or chemical bonding process. Materials useful in the formation of the films used in forming the invention are well known among those of ordinary skill in this field and the particular choice of material is not critical to the invention. Moreover, varying the film thickness provides for varying levels of cushion strength and security, and can be dictated as the product to be shipped or budget require. Virtually any film that can hold air can be securely welded together can be used to create a area redundant reusable high volume cushion in accordance with the invention.

The air in each area of a cushion is retained by a entry/exit portal tube (see FIG. 1 (12), FIG. 15 (12)), and tuck-away film, (see FIG. 1 (8), FIG. 15 (8)), once the cushion is filled with air the (see FIG. 5 and FIG. 22) the entry/exit portal tube is folded twice over itself, (see FIG. 7, FIG. 8, FIG. 9), and then tucked under the tuck-away film (see FIG. 11 and FIG. 24) The tuck-away film is heat sealed to the front and left exterior seam, (see FIG. 1 (8), and FIG. 15 (8)). Creating a pocket to receive the folded entry/exit portal tube (see FIG. 10). As noted the folds in the entry/exit portal tube (see FIG. 8, FIG. 9 and FIG. 10), provide a series of locking point, adding to cushion security. Deflate each cushion by moving the entry/exit portal tube from the tuck-away pocket and opening the folds, deflated cushions can be reused by blowing air into the entry/exit portal tube, (FIG. 1 (12), FIG. 15 (12)),and securing the folded tube in the tuck-away pocket, (FIG. 10), as described above. Interior air pressure forced against the portal area (FIG. 1 (9), (10) and FIG.>15 (9),(10)), will press the tube tighter into the tuck-away pocket (FIG. 11(8) and FIG. 24(8)), adding and additional level of security.

Type of two area cushions, are distinguished by the placement of an areas air chambers. In the side by side format, one area controls the front and left side of the cushion while the opposite area controls the left side and back of the cushion. In the top to bottom and side to side, one area controls the front and back of the cushion while the other area controls the left and right side. The side by side is built by welding and A film and B film together with a tuck-away film welded to the left and front exterior seam. The top to bottom side to side is built welding the A film and B film to a central core film, (to create the passageways for each area), then to each other, with a tuck-away film welded to the left and front exterior seam.

The four-area redundant reusable high volume cushion (FIG. 12, FIG. 25) of the invention has all the features of the two-area system, (including an additional, i.e., second central core film, (FIG. 25(21) for the top to bottom side to side cushion), with the same features of air entry, locking and release in the same manner described above for the two area cushion. Additional security is offered by the four-area cushion in that there is a central film layer (see(15) FIG. 12 and (22) FIG. 25), in each four-area cushion that divides the inflated sections into four complete areas. The interior film provides an additional area for absorbing impact. That is, when one of the exterior film areas (see FIG. 12 and FIG. 25), is subjected to impact, the resulting force can be absorbed by this soft flexible middle film layer (shown as (15) in FIG. 12 and (22) in FIG, 25).

This multi-area feature adds a level of puncture resistance to the cushion surface. That is, the use of four areas allows the cushion to maintain a greater level of integrity if a area is punctured.

It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited in scope by the exemplified embodiments which are intended as illustrations of single aspects of the invention, and the embodiments and methods which are functionally equivalent are within the scope of the invention. Indeed, various modifications of the invention in addition to those described herein will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the foregoing description.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7959759 *Dec 26, 2007Jun 14, 2011Chieh Hua LiaoApparatus and method for manufacturing double layer air cylinder type air enclosure
US8033571Oct 5, 2007Oct 11, 2011The Invention Science Fund I, LlcEnergy dissipative cushioning elements
US8059000May 12, 2009Nov 15, 2011The Invention Science Fund I, LlcWearable/portable protection for a body
US8088459 *May 24, 2007Jan 3, 2012Yao Sin LiaoAir enclosure with independent double layer air chambers
US8102258 *Nov 21, 2006Jan 24, 2012The Invention Science Fund I, LlcActuatable cushioning elements
US8179254Mar 21, 2007May 15, 2012The Invention Science Fund I, LlcActuatable cushioning elements
US8851518Aug 29, 2011Oct 7, 2014The Invention Science Fund I, LlcEnergy dissipative cushioning elements
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/522
International ClassificationB65D81/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65D81/051, Y02W30/807
European ClassificationB65D81/05A