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Publication numberUS20060177161 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/048,024
Publication dateAug 10, 2006
Filing dateJan 31, 2005
Priority dateJan 31, 2005
Publication number048024, 11048024, US 2006/0177161 A1, US 2006/177161 A1, US 20060177161 A1, US 20060177161A1, US 2006177161 A1, US 2006177161A1, US-A1-20060177161, US-A1-2006177161, US2006/0177161A1, US2006/177161A1, US20060177161 A1, US20060177161A1, US2006177161 A1, US2006177161A1
InventorsRobert Turvey
Original AssigneeTurvey Robert R
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Pouch having at least one pleat
US 20060177161 A1
Abstract
A pouch includes first and second opposing walls, a closure mechanism disposed between the opposing walls and at least one pleat disposed laterally across the pouch between the first and second side portions of the pouch, wherein the pleat is adapted to expand the pouch in a direction transverse to an axis of the opposing walls.
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Claims(20)
1. A pouch, comprising:
first and second opposing walls;
a closure mechanism disposed between the opposing walls; and
at least one extruded pleat disposed laterally across the pouch between first and second side portions of the pouch, wherein the pleat is adapted to expand the pouch in a direction transverse to an axis of the opposing walls.
2. The pouch of claim 1, wherein the extruded pleat is disposed laterally across a bottom portion of the pouch between the first and second side portions.
3. The pouch of claim 1, wherein two extruded pleats are disposed laterally across the pouch between the first and second side portions of the pouch.
4. The pouch of claim 3, wherein one of the extruded pleats is disposed in the first wall and the other of the extruded pleats is disposed in the second wall.
5. The pouch of claim 4, wherein at least one of the extruded pleats has at least one fold therein that has a cross-sectional shape that is rectangular.
6. The pouch of claim 4, wherein at least one of the extruded pleats has at least one fold therein that has a cross-sectional shape that is triangular.
7. The pouch of claim 4, wherein at least one of the extruded pleats has at least one fold therein that has a cross-sectional shape that is hyperbolic.
8. The pouch of claim 8, wherein the extruded pleats expand to hold an item(s) therein and contract when the item(s) is removed.
9. The pouch of claim 1, wherein the extruded pleat includes folds extending between the first and second side portions of the pouch and wherein the pleat makes up the first side wall, a bottom portion of the pouch, and the second side wall of the pouch.
10. The pouch of claim 1, wherein the extruded pleat is disposed adjacent the closure mechanism.
11. The pouch of claim 1, wherein the extruded pleat is disposed adjacent a bottom portion of the pouch.
12. A pouch, comprising:
first and second opposing walls;
a first extruded pleat disposed in the first wall; and
a second extruded pleat disposed in the second wall, wherein each of the first and second pleats includes at least one fold and wherein the folds extend laterally across the pouch walls between first and second side portions of the pouch and wherein the pleats expand, thereby expanding the pouch in a direction transverse to an axis of the opposing walls when an item(s) is placed in the pouch and the pleats contract when the item(s) is removed.
13. The pouch of claim 12, wherein the first pleat has a first number of folds therein that have a first cross-sectional shape and the second pleat has a second number of folds therein that have a second cross-sectional shape.
14. The pouch of claim 13, wherein the first number of folds and the second number of folds are different.
15. The pouch of claim 13, wherein the first cross-sectional shape and the second-cross-sectional shape are different.
16. The pouch of claim 12, wherein the first pleat is disposed in the first wall a first distance from a top portion of the pouch and the second pleat is disposed in the second wall a second distance from the top portion of the pouch.
17. The pouch of claim 16, wherein the first and second distances are different.
18. A pouch, comprising:
first and second opposing walls;
an extruded pleat disposed in the first wall;
wherein the pleat extends laterally across the pouch between first and second side portions of the pouch and wherein the pleat is welded at first and second side portions of the pouch to the opposing pouch wall, thereby only allowing the pleat to expand along portions of the pouch that are not adjacent the first and second side portions of the pouch to expand the pouch in directions transverse to an axis of the opposing walls.
19. The pouch of claim 18, further including a second extruded pleat disposed in and extending laterally across the second wall between the first and second side portions of the pouch.
20. The pouch of claim 19, wherein the first pleat has a first number of folds therein and a first cross-sectional shape and the second pleat has a second number of folds therein and has a second cross-sectional shape and wherein the first and second numbers of folds are different and the first and second cross-sectional shapes are the same.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not applicable

REFERENCE REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable

SEQUENTIAL LISTING

Not applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to pouches, and more particularly, to pouches that can expand and contract to change the capacity thereof.

2. Description of the Background of the Invention

A thermoplastic pouch for the storage of items may include a closure mechanism comprising closure elements disposed on opposed inner surfaces of bag walls. Such thermoplastic pouches oftentimes can be purchased in multiple different sizes and/or shapes. This necessitates the consumer purchasing multiple boxes of thermoplastic pouches for different items and can become very expensive and inconvenient for the consumer.

Bannister U.S. Pat. No. 6,367,976 discloses a pinch closure bag having multiple side gussets. The bag includes a front wall, a back wall, and two side gussets extending between the front and back walls. Each side gusset includes at least two V-shaped infolds that allow the bag to expand along the gussets to increase the volume of the bag.

Price U.S. Publication No. 2002/0168118 discloses a thermoplastic bag having first and second sidewalls and an offset fastener disposed between the sidewalls. The bag further includes an inwardly folded top pleat extending laterally across a width of one of the sidewalls, wherein the top pleat enables the sidewall to expand outwardly. A bottom pleat is disposed in a bottom of the bag to expand the sidewalls away from one another when product is disposed therein. Each of the pleats is formed by folding a portion of the bag inwardly.

Yi Li U.S. Publication No. 2004/0066988 discloses a plastic bag including a bag body, a top opening, a bottom edge, and a trash chamber. The bag further includes a bottom enhancement arrangement that opens to form a rounded bottom when in use. The bag is created by forming a plastic tubular body and thereafter folding portions of the body to form the bottom enhancement arrangement.

Anderson et al. U.S. Publication No. 2004/0058103 discloses a stand-up reclosable package. The package includes a front wall, a rear wall, a pair of gusseted sides, and a flat bottom wall. A reclosable closure mechanism is disposed near a top of the package in the front and rear walls, such that the closure mechanism provides a seal near the top of the package.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the present invention, a pouch includes first and second opposing walls and a closure mechanism disposed between the opposing walls. At least one extruded pleat is disposed laterally across the pouch between the first and second side portions of the pouch, wherein the pleat is adapted to expand the pouch in a direction transverse to an axis of the opposing walls.

According to another aspect of the present invention, a pouch includes first and second opposing walls, a first extruded pleat disposed in the first wall, and a second extruded pleat disposed in the second wall. Each of the first and second pleats includes at least one fold, wherein the folds extend laterally across the pouch walls between first and second side portions of the pouch. The pleats expand, thereby expanding the pouch in a direction transverse to an axis of the opposing walls when an item(s) is placed in the pouch and the pleats contract when the items(s) is removed.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention, a pouch includes first and second opposing walls and an extruded pleat disposed in the first wall. The pleat extends laterally across the pouch between first and second side portions of the pouch. Further, the pleat is welded at first and second side portions of the pouch to the opposing pouch wall, thereby only allowing the pleat to expand along portions of the pouch that are not adjacent the first and second side portions of the pouch to expand the pouch in a direction transverse to an axis of the opposing walls.

Other aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent upon consideration of the following detailed description and the attached drawings, in which like elements are assigned like reference numerals.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevational view of a reclosable thermoplastic storage bag according to the present invention;

FIGS. 2A-2C are cross-sectional views of the reclosable thermoplastic storage bag of FIG. 1 depicting a first embodiment having several different variants of pleats;

FIGS. 3-7 and 8A are cross-sectional views similar to FIGS. 2A-2C illustrating alternative embodiments of the present invention;

FIG. 8B is an elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 8A in an expanded position;

FIGS. 9-11 are cross-sectional views similar to FIGS. 2A-2C illustrating alternative embodiments of the present invention; and

FIG. 12 is a cross-sectional view similar to FIGS. 2A-2C illustrating the embodiment of FIG. 11 in an expanded position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIG. 1, a reclosable pouch in the form of a thermoplastic storage bag 20 comprises first and second body portions 22, 24 joined to one another to form first and second bag walls 26, 28. The first and second bag walls 26, 28 are joined at first and second side portions 30, 32, respectively, and at a bottom portion 34. An opening 35 and an optional closure mechanism 36 are disposed at a top portion 38 of the bag 20, wherein an optional slider 40 is positioned over the closure mechanism 36 and can be moved along a width of the bag 20 to open and close the closure mechanism 36. The optional closure mechanism 36 is preferably in the form of a thermoplastic zipper including first and second closure elements 42 a, 42 b. The first closure element 42 a is disposed adjacent the first bag wall 26 at the top portion 38 of the bag. Similarly, the second closure element 42 b is disposed adjacent the second bag wall 28 at the top portion 38 of the bag. The closure mechanism 36 may be formed in accordance, for example, with the teachings of U.S. Pat. No. 5,664,299, owned by the assignee of the present application and the disclosures of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.

If desired, the first and second closure elements 42 a, 42 b of the closure mechanism 36 may be replaced with a reclosable fastener of the type wherein a user, after placing one or more products into an interior of the bag, exerts force on outer surfaces of the first and second body portions, respectively, adjacent the first and second closure elements thereby forcing the closure elements into interlocking relation. Preferably, such closure mechanisms may be formed in accordance with the teachings of Geiger, et al. U.S. Pat. No. 4,755,248, Zieke et al., U.S. Pat. No. 4,741,789, and/or Porchia et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,012,561, owned by the assignee of the present application and the disclosures of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein. Still further, any known closure mechanism may be utilized with any of the embodiments disclosed herein or the closure mechanism may be omitted entirely.

For illustration purposes, the thermoplastic storage bags of the present invention, including bag walls, optional closure mechanisms, pleats, and folds, are shown larger than reality.

FIGS. 2A-C depict three variations of a first embodiment of the present invention, wherein a thermoplastic storage bag 120 includes optional first and second closure mechanisms 142 a, 142 b. The slider is omitted in FIGS. 2A-C to show the detail of the thermoplastic bag 120. As discussed above, the closure mechanisms 142 a, 142 b may be of the type shown or any other known closure for thermoplastic storage bags. The thermoplastic storage bag 120 includes a pleat 160 a in and extending laterally across the first bag wall 126 between first and second side portions 30, 32 and a pleat 160 b in and extending laterally across the second bag wall 128 between the first and second side portions 30, 32. Each of the pleats 160 a, 160 b includes multiple small folds 162 a, 162 b, respectively, that form the respective pleat 160 a, 160 b. Although the pleats 160 a, 160 b in FIG. 2A are depicted as having six folds 162 a, 162 b, the present invention contemplates having any number of folds, depending on the original size of the bag and the desired maximum capacity of the bag.

As seen in FIG. 2A, the folds 162 a, 162 b of the pleats 160 a, 160 b may extend a distance inwardly of the bag walls 126, 128, respectively, and extend a distance outwardly of the bag walls 126, 128. Optionally, as seen in FIG. 2B, the folds 162 a, 162 b of the pleats 160 a, 160 b may extend only inwardly of the bag walls 126, 128, respectively. Alternatively, in order to conserve space within the thermoplastic storage bag 120, and as seen in FIG. 2C, the folds 162 a, 162 b may extend only outwardly of the bag walls 126, 128.

In the embodiments of 2A-C, each of the pleats 160 is welded at first and second side portions 130 (not shown), 132 of the bag 120 to the opposing bag wall. Therefore, the pleat 160 is only allowed to expand along portions of the bag 120 that are not adjacent the first and second side portions 130, 132 of the bag 120. The pleats 160 a, 160 b with multiple folds 162 a, 162 b therefore allow the thermoplastic storage bag 120 to expand in a direction transverse to an axis of the bag walls, from a first, unfilled position to a second, fully filled position. Therebetween, there are many partially filled sizes or capacities that are possible. The expansion of the pleats 160 a, 160 b allow the consumer to use a portion of the bag 120 such that the bag 120 is not expanded, or use the entire bag, wherein the bag 120 expands to the maximum capacity thereof in order to hold the items placed in the bag 120 by the consumer.

As depicted in FIGS. 2A-C, the folds 162 a, 162 b of the pleats 160 a, 160 b have a cross-sectional shape that is rectangular. Optionally, and as seen hereinafter, the folds 162 a, 162 b of the pleats 160 a, 160 b may have a cross-sectional shape that is any geometric shape, including circular, hyperbolic, oval-shaped, square-shaped, triangular, etc.

In a further embodiment, as seen in FIG. 3, first and second pleats 360 a, 360 b are formed in first and second bag walls 326, 328, respectively. Each of the first and second pleats 360 a, 360 b includes multiple folds 362 a, 362 b, respectively, therein. The pleats 360 a, 360 b are similar to those of FIGS. 2A-C, except that the shape of the folds 362 a, 362 b is different. The folds 362 a, 362 b of the pleats 360 a, 360 b, respectively, have a cross-sectional shape that is triangular, thereby forming a zig-zag pattern in the pleats 360 a, 360 b.

The embodiment of FIG. 4 is identical to the embodiment of FIG. 3, except that the pleats 462 a, 462 b have folds 462 a, 462 b, respectively, that have a cross-sectional shape that is hyperbolic, thereby forming a wave pattern in the pleats 460 a, 460 b. Alternatively, the folds 462 a, 462 b may have a rounded, spherical, or circular cross-sectional shape, thereby forming a similar wave-like pattern.

FIG. 5 also depicts an embodiment similar to the embodiment of FIG. 3. However, instead of placing pleats adjacent the closure elements as in FIG. 3, the pleats 560 a, 560 b in FIG. 5 are spaced farther from the closure elements 542 a, 542 b of the closure mechanism 536 at a position about half way between the top portion 538 and the bottom portion 534 of the bag 520. Although the pleats 560 a, 560 b are shown with folds 562 a, 562 b, respectively, having a triangular cross-sectional shape, any cross-sectional shape may be utilized.

FIG. 6 depicts yet another embodiment similar to the embodiment of FIG. 4. The only difference is that the pleats 660 a, 660 b of FIG. 6 are disposed adjacent the bottom portion 634 of the bag 620. Optionally, the pleats may be disposed anywhere in the first and/or second bag walls 626, 628 below the first and second closure elements 642 a, 642 b, respectively. Still optionally, each of the bag walls may include a single pleat therein, wherein each pleat includes enough folds to comprise the entire respective bag wall.

Although the disclosed embodiments that include first and second pleats in the first and second bag walls comprise pleats of similar cross-sectional shape, it is contemplated by the present invention that the first pleat may be of a first cross-sectional shape and the second pleat may be of a second, different cross-sectional shape.

As seen in FIG. 7, a pleat 760 may be formed in the bottom portion 734 of the thermoplastic storage bag 720 between the first and second side walls 726, 728. The pleat 760 may include any number of folds 762 therein that expand in a horizontal direction (when the bag is held upright as seen in FIG. 7). As with other embodiments, the folds 762 of the pleat 760 may be formed with any cross-sectional shape. Optionally, pleats may also be formed in one or both of the bag walls 726, 728, as well as in the bottom portion 734 of the bag 720.

FIG. 8A depicts another embodiment in which a single pleat 860 is disposed in the first bag wall 826. Optionally, the pleat 860 may also be formed in the second bag wall 828. In the embodiment of FIG. 8A, the pleat 860 includes multiple folds 862 therein, wherein the material extending between the folds 862 has a length L that extends generally parallel to the bag walls, as opposed to the material extending generally perpendicular to the bag walls, as depicted in FIGS. 2A-C. In such an embodiment, the entire pleat 860 is welded at first and second side portions 830 (not shown), 832 of the bag 820 to the opposing bag wall. Therefore, the pleat 860 is only allowed to expand along portions of the bag 820 that are not adjacent the first and second side portions 830, 832 of the bag 820, as seen in FIG. 8B. Therefore, the pleats allow expansion of the bag in a direction transverse to an axis of the bag walls.

Similar to FIG. 8A, FIG. 9 depicts that two opposing pleats 960 a, 960 b may have different numbers of folds 962 a, 962 b, respectively. The embodiment of FIG. 9 is only illustrative. In fact, either one of the pleats 960 a, 960 b may have any number of folds 962 a, 962 b therein and each pleat 960 a, 960 b may be disposed at any point between the closure elements 942 a, 942 b and the bottom portion 934 of the bag 920. As with the embodiment of FIG. 8A, the pleats 960 a, 960 b only expand along portions of the bag 920 that are not adjacent the first and second side portions 830, 832. If one pleat has more folds than another pleat, that pleat will allow for further expansion than the other.

Additionally, as seen in FIG. 10, the pleats 1060 a, 1060 b may be disposed at different locations within the bag walls 1026, 1028, respectively. For example, a first pleat 1060 a may be disposed adjacent the first closure element 1042 a and a second pleat 1060 b may be disposed midway between the second closure element 1042 b and the bottom portion 1034 of the bag 1020. Such pleats 1060 a, 1060 b may also have any number of folds 1062 a, 1062 b and/or the pleats 1060 a, 1060 b may be disposed at any suitable location in the bag walls 1026, 1028. Still further, one of the bag walls 1026, 1028 may have a different number of pleats 1060 than the other bag wall 1026, 1028.

In yet another embodiment, as seen in FIG. 11, the entire bag 1120 (excluding the optional closure mechanism 1136) may comprise a single pleat 1160 that makes up the bag walls 1126, 1128 and the bottom portion 1134 (all in FIG. 12) of the bag 1120. In such an embodiment, there may be any number of folds 1162 in the pleat 1160.

FIG. 12 depicts the thermoplastic storage bag of FIG. 11 in an expanded position. In particular, when enough product is placed into the bag 1120, the folds 1162 of the pleats 1160 expand downwardly. As can be seen, the folds 1162 spread out to provide extra capacity, thereby expanding the overall size of the bag. As is evident, the folds 1162 of the pleats 1160 may expand slightly or may expand to provide a maximum capacity. All of the pleats as described herein may expand in the same manner. Additionally, when product is removed, the pleats contract back to their original size.

The closure mechanism of the above-disclosed embodiments is for illustration purposes only. In fact, in any of the above-disclosed embodiments, the closure mechanism may be any suitable closure mechanism or the closure mechanism may be omitted entirely.

Optionally, more than one pleat may be disposed in either or both of the body portions, thereby forming an even larger storage bag.

Any of folds of the pleats as described herein may be extruded having any thickness T, as depicted in FIG. 4. If the folds of the pleats are extruded with a greater thickness, the pleats will tend to have more tension and compression properties, thereby allowing for more flexibility in expansion and contraction thereof. Conversely, if the folds of the pleats are extruded with a lesser thickness, the pleats will tend to have less tension and compression properties, thus having less flexibility in expansion and contraction thereof.

Some of the embodiments disclosed herein may include a single pleat in either the first or second body portion, a single pleat in both the first and second body portions, multiple pleats in either of the first or second body portions, or multiple pleats in both of the first and second body portions. Further embodiments are contemplated by the present invention, wherein any or all of the aspects of the embodiments as described herein are combined.

The first and second bag walls with pleats therein as described herein are preferably made by known extrusion processes. Optionally, the body portions may be blown or formed by any other known process for making thermoplastic pouches. The closure elements of the closure mechanism may also be formed by any known process. Preferably, the bag walls with pleats therein are extruded directly through respective die plates into a water bath, wherein each die plate includes a slot having a shape that is complementary to the cross-sectional shape of respective the bag wall and pleat(s). The optional closure elements may be extruded through the same die plates with the corresponding bag walls or may be attached by known methods to the bag walls after the bag walls are removed from the water bath and properly dried.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

The embodiments of the thermoplastic storage bag as described herein advantageously provide the consumer with a pouch that is capable of holding smaller and/or fewer items, but is expandable to hold larger and/or more items. An expandable pouch provides multiple uses for a single pouch. Unlike mechanically formed pleats, the extruded pleats as described herein not only allow the pouch to expand, but also advantageously allow the pouch to contract back to its original size and shape.

Also unlike mechanically formed pleats, the extrusion of pleats as described herein allows any size or shape pleat to be formed, including small pleats, that could not be formed mechanically or otherwise.

Numerous modifications will be apparent to those skilled in the art in view of the foregoing description. Accordingly, this description is to be construed as illustrative only and is presented for the purpose of enabling those skilled in the art to make and use the invention and to teach the best mode of carrying out same. The exclusive rights to all modifications which come within the scope of the appended claims are reserved.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8104479 *Jun 14, 2006Jan 31, 2012Volcano CorporationPleated bag for interventional pullback systems
US8459266Jan 30, 2012Jun 11, 2013Volcano CorporationPleated bag for interventional pullback systems
US8627823Jun 10, 2013Jan 14, 2014Volcano CorporationPleated bag for interventional pullback systems
US8794835 *Aug 26, 2010Aug 5, 2014The Glad Products CompanyDraw tape bag
US20110052104 *Aug 26, 2010Mar 3, 2011The Glad Products CompanyDraw tape bag
US20110052105 *Aug 26, 2010Mar 3, 2011The Glad Products CompanyEmbossed draw tape bag
US20110253728 *Apr 18, 2011Oct 20, 2011Mark SteeleCollapsible Package and Method
US20120134606 *Jan 31, 2012May 31, 2012Borchardt Michael GNon-Continuously Laminated Multi-Layered Bags With Ribbed Patterns And Methods of Forming The Same
US20120269465 *Apr 24, 2012Oct 25, 2012The Glad Products CompanyThermoplastic Films With Visually-Distinct Stretched Regions and Methods For Making The Same
US20120269466 *Apr 24, 2012Oct 25, 2012The Glad Products CompanyMulti-Layered Films With Visually-Distinct Regions and Methods of Making The Same
Classifications
U.S. Classification383/120, 383/2, 383/105, 383/903
International ClassificationB65D30/00, B65D30/20, B65D33/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65D33/2508, B65D33/2591, B65D21/08
European ClassificationB65D21/08, B65D33/25A, B65D33/25C