|Publication number||US20060191948 A1|
|Application number||US 11/042,497|
|Publication date||Aug 31, 2006|
|Filing date||Jan 25, 2005|
|Priority date||Jan 25, 2005|
|Publication number||042497, 11042497, US 2006/0191948 A1, US 2006/191948 A1, US 20060191948 A1, US 20060191948A1, US 2006191948 A1, US 2006191948A1, US-A1-20060191948, US-A1-2006191948, US2006/0191948A1, US2006/191948A1, US20060191948 A1, US20060191948A1, US2006191948 A1, US2006191948A1|
|Inventors||John Wisniewski, Cori Blomdahl|
|Original Assignee||Seaquist Closures Foreign, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (9), Classifications (12), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention relates to a closure system for a container.
There are a variety of types of conventional closures. One type of prior art closure system includes a body for being attached to the top of a container. The body defines an opening to the container interior. The system further includes a lid which is hingedly mounted on the body and which can be lifted up to expose the opening to the container interior. The closure body to which the lid is attached may be alternatively described as the closure base or base portion.
For some types of products, it would be desirable to provide a closure with a hinged top or lid structure that could provide access to the product (such as fluent products, as well as non-fluent products), and that would optionally accommodate either the insertion of a utensil through the open closure to permit the product to be scooped out of the container with a spoon, knife, ladle, etc., or accommodate the insertion of a user's hand through the open closure so that the product can be lifted out by the user's hand.
It would be additionally advantageous if an improved closure could be provided with a lid that would be removable and also optionally readily adjustable to two or more open positions to accommodate the removal of the product from the container.
It would also be advantageous if such an improved closure could provide the user with a tactile sensation of resistance as user lifts the lid (at least through some range of movement) whereby, if the user releases the lid within that range of movement, then preferably the lid will remain in the particular orientation at which it is released.
It would also be beneficial if such an improved closure could optionally provide a further increased resistance at the end of a range of motion so as to indicate to the user that the lid has reached at least a first, predetermined, self-maintained, open position or location, and/or that movement of the lid further beyond the first, predetermined, self-maintained, open position will result in a greatly reduced resistance wherein the lid will no longer remain in a first, predetermined, self-maintained, open position, and instead will be free to swing under the influence of gravity to a further (i.e., wider) opened position.
It would also be advantageous if such an improved closure could accommodate containers which have a variety of shapes and which are constructed from a variety of materials.
Such an improved closure should also preferably accommodate ease of use. Preferably, such an improved closure should also facilitate cleaning of the closure.
It would also be beneficial if an improved closure could readily accommodate its manufacture from a thermoplastic material.
Further, it would be desirable if such an improved closure could accommodate efficient, high-quality, high-speed, large volume manufacturing techniques with a reduced product reject rate to produce products having consistent operating characteristics unit-to-unit with high reliability.
The present invention can be incorporated into a closure system that may include one or more of the above-discussed, desired features.
According to one aspect of the present invention, a closure system is provided for a container that has an interior where a product may be stored. The closure system includes a peripheral wall for extending from the container at least part way around an opening to the container interior. In a presently preferred embodiment, the closure system peripheral wall is at the top of, and is a unitary part of, the container.
The closure includes a lid that is movable between (1) a closed position occluding the opening, and (2) a fully opened position exposing the opening.
A hinge structure defines a pivot axis and connects the lid to the peripheral wall to accommodate pivoting of the lid about the pivot axis between the closed position and the fully opened position.
Either the lid or the peripheral wall includes a resistive surface arranged in an arc partway around the pivot axis. The other of the lid and peripheral wall includes an engaging member for engaging the resistive surface with a resistance force whereby the user must apply a torque sufficient to overcome the resistance force in order to pivot the lid through a range of movement that is defined as including at least a portion of the entire movement between the closed position and the fully opened position.
According to one optional aspect of the invention, the lid has a range of movement that requires application of torque greater than a predetermined amount of torque, and that range of movement may include the entire range of movement of the lid between the closed position and the fully opened position.
However, in a presently preferred form of the invention, the lid is initially movable away from the closed position through a first range of movement upon the application of a torque which is sufficiently less than a predetermined amount of torque so that, if the user releases the lid anywhere along the first range of movement, the lid will fall under the influence of gravity to the closed position.
Also, according to the preferred form of the invention, the lid can be opened further through a second range of movement only if the user applies a torque greater than a predetermined amount of torque. If the user releases the lid at a selected open position in the second range of movement, the lid will remain at that selected position. The torque which the user must apply to move the lid through the second range of movement need not be constant, but could vary throughout the second range of movement.
Also, according to the preferred form of the invention, the lid can be opened even further through a third range of movement wherein the torque required to move the lid through such a third range of movement is less than a predetermined amount of torque. According to the most preferred form of the present invention, when the lid is in the third range of movement, the user can release the lid, and the lid will swing freely under the influence of gravity to the fully opened position. Such a fully opened position may be defined by a structural stop that engages the lid in the fully opened position.
Numerous other advantages and features of the present invention will become readily apparent from the following detailed description of the invention, from the claims, and from the accompanying drawings.
In the accompanying drawings forming part of the specification, in which like numerals are employed to designate like parts throughout the same,
While this invention is susceptible of embodiment in many different forms, this specification and the accompanying drawings disclose only some specific forms as examples of the invention. The invention is not intended to be limited to the embodiments so described, however. The scope of the invention is pointed out in the appended claims.
For ease of description, the closure system of this invention is described as a portion of a package that includes a container that has a normal, generally upright orientation when the container is positioned upright on its base. It will be understood, however, that the system of this invention may be manufactured, stored, transported, used, and sold in orientations other than the position described.
The closure system of this invention is suitable for use with a variety of conventional or special containers having various designs, the details of which, although not illustrated or described, would be apparent to those having skill in the art and an understanding of such containers. With respect to the broadest aspects of the invention, the container, per se, need not form part of the invention, and therefore the particular container illustrated and described herein is not intended to limit the broadest aspects of the present invention.
One presently preferred first embodiment of a closure system of the present invention is incorporated in a package illustrated in
The package 30 is especially suitable for containing a paste-like product or fluent product (which can be scooped or ladled from the container with a spoon, knife, ladle, etc.), or a product of small, individual items, such as nuts, candies, crackers, cookies, etc. (which can be scooped out of the container, ladled out of the container, or removed by hand from the container). Other contemplated products include ground coffee, sugar, or other material in the form of liquids, powders, gels, pastes, slurries, etc. Such materials may be sold, for example, as a food product, a personal care product, an industrial or household product, or other composition (e.g., for internal or external use by humans or animals, or for use in activities involving medicine, manufacturing, commercial or household maintenance, construction, agriculture, etc.).
As can be seen in
In another contemplated embodiment (not illustrated), the peripheral portion 36 could be molded as a piece separately from the container 32. Such a separate, peripheral portion 36 would then define a separate base of the closure 30, and the separately molded base or peripheral portion 36 could be subsequently permanently attached to the container 32 by means of induction bonding, ultrasonic bonding, gluing, or the like, depending on the materials employed for the container and the closure. Alternatively, such a separate closure base could instead be releasably connected to the container 32 with a screw thread system, a snap-fit bead system, or by other means.
In the preferred, first embodiment of the container 32 illustrated in
The container 32 may have a somewhat flexible wall or walls which can be grasped by the user and squeezed inwardly. However, the inventive closure system is especially suitable for use with a container 32 that has substantially inflexible walls that are not intended to be squeezed inwardly by the user.
In the preferred embodiment, the closure components are molded from a suitable thermoplastic material such as polypropylene or the like. Other materials may be employed instead.
In the illustrated, preferred embodiment, the lid 34 has a generally circular configuration to conveniently mate with the closure base or peripheral portion 36 as defined at the top of the container 32. If desired, the lid 34 and container 32 may include cooperating, releasable beads, or beads and grooves, to retain the lid 34 and container 32 together in a sealing relationship. Such a retention/sealing structure forms no part of the present invention.
The front of the lid 34 includes an outwardly projecting lifting handle or tab 44 (
Each lid arm 50 also has an outwardly projecting engaging member 54 (
In the illustrated, preferred embodiment, the peripheral portion 36 defines the closure base or body as a unitary part of the top of the container 32, and the portion 36 is configured to receive the lid 34 that is pivotally mounted on the peripheral portion 36. To this end, at least part of the peripheral portion 36 may be characterized as defining a peripheral wall 53 (
In this specification and in the claims, the term “peripheral wall” means a portion of the closure structure adapted for extending from the container to support the mounting of the lid 34. In the illustrated, preferred embodiment, the peripheral wall 53 (
In any case, the peripheral wall 53 need not extend completely around the entire periphery of the closure base peripheral portion 36 or container 32. Rather, the wall 53 may functionally exist as only a small part of the closure base or peripheral portion 36, and the wall 53 need be of sufficient size only to accommodate the attachment of the lid 34.
In the preferred embodiment shown in
As can be seen in
The resistive surface 70 (defined by the ridges 76) extends from a beginning edge 81 to a terminal edge 82. The ridge at the terminal edge 82 projects further outwardly than do the other ridges 76.
The above-described structures associated with the mounting of the lid 34 to the peripheral wall 53 of the peripheral portion 36 provide various operational advantages as the user of the package opens the lid.
When the user begins to lift the lid 34 upwardly from the fully closed position (
However, after the lid 34 has been lifted to the end of the first range of movement (
In the preferred embodiment illustrated in
The end of the second range of movement is defined at the location wherein the lid engaging member 54 engages the terminal edge 82 (
If the user attempts to pivot the lid 34 further (clockwise as viewed in
The discussion above regarding the opening of the lid 34 refers to the operation of a single engaging member 54 as it engages a cooperative resistive surface 70. However, it is to be realized that, in the preferred embodiment illustrated in
An alternate embodiment of a closure system of the present invention is illustrated in
The lid 34A has two arms 50A, and each arm 50A has an engaging member 54A for engaging an associated resistive surface 70A through at least an intermediate range of movement. The interference between each engaging member 54A and the associated resistive surface 70A is preferably designed so as to create a predetermined engaging force whereby the sum of the forces of engagement between the engaging members 54A and resistive surfaces 70A is sufficient to maintain the lid 34A in the intermediate position selected. The operation of opening the lid 34A is otherwise identical with that described above for opening the lid 34 in the first embodiment illustrated in
In both of the first and second embodiments of the closure system described above, the lid preferably has a first range of movement before the resistive surface and engaging member become engaged along the second range of movement, and the lid preferably has a third range of movement after the disengagement of the engaging member from the resistive surface.
However, it will be appreciated, that in one optional aspect of the invention, an alternative embodiment (not illustrated) could be provided wherein the first range of movement could be eliminated so that the engaging member is engaged with the resistive surface as soon as the lid is first opened from its fully closed position.
Also, according to another optional aspect of the invention (not illustrated), the system could include (1) a first range of movement wherein the engaging member and resistive surface are not engaged, and (2) a second range of movement wherein the engaging member and resistive surface are engaged—but the system would not include the third range movement, whereby the second range of movement would extend all the way to the fully opened position of the lid.
In yet another alternate embodiment (not illustrated), the engagement of the engaging member with the resistive surface may occupy substantially the entire range of movement of the lid from the fully closed position to the fully opened position whereby, if the user releases the lid at any point along the entire range of movement, the lid will remain in the released position owing to the resistive force between the engaging member and the resistive surface, which resistance force is sufficiently large that it cannot be overcome by the torque imposed on the lid by the force of gravity.
In other alternate embodiments (not illustrated), the shape of the arcuate resistive surface can either be a circular arc having a center that is not coincident with the hinge pivot axis, or a non-circular arc. With such alternate designs, the resistive surface can be oriented to provide an increasing (or decreasing) resistance force as the lid is lifted through at least part of the range of motion of the lid.
While the above-described structural features of the various embodiments of the present invention may be incorporated in a closure system or entire package having a variety of aesthetic configurations, the sole aesthetic configuration disclosed herein is illustrated in the various orthographic views of
It will be readily apparent from the foregoing detailed description of the invention and from the illustrations thereof that numerous variations and modifications may be effected without departing from the true spirit and scope of the novel concepts or principles of this invention.
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7753228 *||Oct 8, 2004||Jul 13, 2010||Yoshida Industry Co., Ltd.||Cosmetic container|
|US7819688 *||Oct 28, 2008||Oct 26, 2010||Hon Hai Precision Ind. Co., Ltd.||Integrated socket clip with rotation control tabs|
|US8522998 *||May 1, 2008||Sep 3, 2013||Electrolux Home Products, Inc.||Dishwasher basket assembly|
|US8833584||Jul 2, 2012||Sep 16, 2014||Weatherchem Corporation||Closure with utensil retention mechanism|
|US9045264||Mar 27, 2012||Jun 2, 2015||Fritz Schaefer Gmbh||Container having an articulated pivoting cover|
|US20080272126 *||May 1, 2008||Nov 6, 2008||Electrolux Home Products, Inc.||Dishwasher basket assembly|
|US20130001184 *||Jan 3, 2013||Weatherchem Corporation||Closure with stay open mechanism|
|US20130327784 *||Jun 6, 2012||Dec 12, 2013||Tyco Electronics Brasil Ltda||Container closure system|
|WO2012146341A1 *||Mar 27, 2012||Nov 1, 2012||Fritz Schäfer GmbH||Container having an articulated pivoting cover|
|U.S. Classification||220/831, 220/840, 220/832|
|International Classification||B65D43/24, B65D43/16|
|Cooperative Classification||B65D2251/105, B65D43/164, E05D11/105, B65D2251/1008, E05D7/1077, E05Y2900/602|
|Mar 14, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SEAQUIST CLOSURES FOREIGN, INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:WISNIEWSKI, JOHN;BLOMDAHL, CORI M.;REEL/FRAME:016354/0959
Effective date: 20050118