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Publication numberUS20060191948 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/042,497
Publication dateAug 31, 2006
Filing dateJan 25, 2005
Priority dateJan 25, 2005
Publication number042497, 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
InventorsJohn Wisniewski, Cori Blomdahl
Original AssigneeSeaquist Closures Foreign, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Closure with lid having an opening resistance
US 20060191948 A1
Abstract
A dispensing closure system is provided with (1) a peripheral wall for extending from a container, and (2) a lid. A user can pivotably move the lid relative to the container between open and closed positions. For at least some range of lid movement, a resistance to lid movement is sensed by the user.
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Claims(20)
1. A dispensing closure system for a container that has an interior where a product may be stored, said dispensing closure system comprising:
(A) a peripheral wall for extending from said container at least part way around an opening to the container interior;
(B) a lid movable between (1) a closed position occluding said opening, and (2) a fully opened position exposing said opening; and
(C) a hinge structure defining a pivot axis and connecting said lid to said peripheral wall to accommodate pivoting of said lid about said pivot axis between said closed position and said fully opened position; and
wherein
(1) said peripheral wall includes two, spaced-apart recesses each having
(a) a pair of spaced-apart sidewalls wherein one sidewall defines a concave socket, and
(b) an arcuate resistive surface comprising a plurality of parallel ridges arranged on an arc about said pivot axis, wherein
(i) one of said ridges is the first ridge defining a beginning edge of said resistive surface, and
(ii) another one of said ridges is the last ridge defining a terminal edge of said resistive surface; and
(2) said lid includes two projecting arms that each has
(a) an engaging member for engaging said ridges, and
(b) a convex protuberance for fitting in one of said sockets when each of said arms is disposed in a respective one of said recesses to create said hinge structure to accommodate pivoting of said lid sequentially through
(i) a first range of movement wherein said engaging member is disengaged from said ridges,
(ii) a second range of movement wherein said engaging member is in engagement with said ridges, and
(iii) a third range of movement wherein said engaging member is disengaged from said ridges.
2. The system in accordance with claim 1 in which
said system is a closure for a container that has an opening to the container interior;
said closure includes a closure base portion that is molded as a unitary part of the top of said container and that defines said peripheral wall; and
said lid is separate from, but releasably attachable to, said peripheral wall defined by said closure base portion at the top of said container.
3. The system in accordance with claim 1 in which said lid includes a lift tab projecting laterally outwardly.
4. The system in accordance with claim 1 in which
said engaging member has a converging tip for engaging said arcuate resistive surface; and
said arcuate resistive surface is defined on the locus of a circular arc which has a center coincident with said pivot axis of said hinge structure.
5. A dispensing closure system for a container that has an interior where a product may be stored, said dispensing closure system comprising:
(A) a peripheral wall for extending from said container at least part way around an opening to the container interior;
(B) a lid movable between (1) a closed position occluding said opening, and (2) a fully opened position exposing said opening; and
(C) a hinge structure defining a pivot axis and connecting said lid to said peripheral wall to accommodate pivoting of said lid about said pivot axis between said closed position and said fully opened position; and
wherein
(1) said peripheral wall includes two, spaced-apart recesses each having
(a) a pair of spaced-apart sidewalls wherein one sidewall defines a concave socket, and
(b) a substantially smooth, arcuate, resistive surface lying along an arc about said pivot axis and having
(i) a beginning edge, and
(ii) a terminal edge; and
(2) said lid includes two projecting arms that each has
(a) an engaging member for engaging said resistive surface, and
(b) a convex protuberance for fitting in one of said sockets when each of said arms is disposed in a respective one of said recesses to create said hinge structure to accommodate pivoting of said lid sequentially through
(i) a first range of movement wherein said engaging member is disengaged from said resistive surface,
(ii) a second range of movement wherein said engaging member is in engagement with said resistive surface, and
(iii) a third range of movement wherein said engaging member is disengaged from said resistive surface.
6. The system in accordance with claim 5 in which
said system is a closure for a container that has an opening to the container interior;
said closure includes a closure base portion that is molded as a unitary part of the top of said container and that defines said peripheral wall; and
said lid is separate from, but releasably attachable to, said peripheral wall defined by said closure base portion at the top of said container.
7. The system in accordance with claim 5 in which said engaging member has a converging tip for engaging said arcuate resistive surface; and
said arcuate resistive surface is defined on the locus of a circular arc which has a center coincident with said pivot axis of said hinge structure.
8. A closure system for a container that has an interior where a product may be stored, said closure system comprising:
(A) a peripheral wall for extending from said container at least part way around an opening to the container interior;
(B) a lid movable between (1) a closed position occluding said opening, and (2) a fully opened position exposing said opening; and
(C) a hinge structure defining a pivot axis and connecting said lid to said peripheral wall to accommodate pivoting of said lid about said pivot axis between said closed position and said fully opened position; and
wherein
(1) one of said lid and said peripheral wall includes a resistive surface arranged in an arc around said pivot axis; and
(2) the other of said lid and said peripheral wall includes an engaging member for engaging said resistive surface with a resistance force free of substantial bias toward said closed position and said fully opened position whereby the user must apply a torque sufficient to overcome said resistance force in order to pivot said lid through a range of movement that is defined at least part way between said closed position and said fully opened position.
9. The system in accordance with claim 8 in which
said system includes one or more of said resistive surfaces and one or more of said engaging members;
each said engaging member engages one of said resistive surfaces with an engaging force; and
the sum of said engaging forces is sufficient to maintain said lid in an intermediate position selected from a predetermined range of intermediate positions between said closed position and said fully opened position when said user terminates the application of pivoting torque to said lid.
10. The system in accordance with claim 8 in which
said resistive surface extends from a beginning edge to a terminal edge; and
said resistive surface includes a portion at said terminal edge that provides increased engagement with said engaging member to signal the user when the lid is at a predetermined opened position beyond which the lid can be pivoted to said fully opened position if the user applies a further increased torque to said lid sufficient to overcome the force created by said increased engagement.
11. The system in accordance with claim 8 in which said hinge structure permits said lid to pivot from said closed position partway toward said fully opened position prior to said engaging member engaging said resistive surface.
12. The system in accordance with claim 8 in which said hinge structure permits said lid to pivot from said fully opened position partway toward said closed position prior to said engaging member engaging said resistive surface.
13. The system in accordance with claim 8 in which
said system is a closure for a container that has an opening to the container interior;
said closure includes a closure base portion that is molded as a unitary part of the top of said container and that defines said peripheral wall; and
said lid is separate from, but releasably attachable to, said peripheral wall defined by said closure base portion at the top of said container.
14. The system in accordance with claim 8 in which said lid includes a lift tab projecting laterally outwardly.
15. The system in accordance with claim 8 in which said hinge structure includes
an arm extending from said lid and having a convex protuberance; and
a recess in said peripheral wall defined in part by two, spaced-apart, opposing sidewalls between which said arm can be disposed, one of said sidewalls defining a concave socket for receiving said convex protuberance in pivoting alignment with said pivot axis.
16. The system in accordance with claim 8 in which said resistive surface is defined in a generally arcuate wall.
17. The system in accordance with claim 8 in which said resistive surface is arcuate and smooth.
18. The system in accordance with claim 8 in which said resistive surface is defined by a plurality of parallel ridges lying along an arc about said pivot axis.
19. The system in accordance with claim 8 in which said engaging member has a converging tip for engaging said arcuate resistive surface; and
said arcuate resistive surface is defined on the locus of a circular arc which has a center coincident with said pivot axis of said hinge structure.
20. The system in accordance with claim 8 in which
said peripheral wall has a recess defined by two, spaced-apart, opposing sidewalls;
said resistive surface extends between said sidewalls;
said lid includes an extending arm;
said engaging member projects from said arm; and
said arm is mounted for pivoting movement to one of said sidewalls whereby said arm and said one sidewall function as said hinge structure.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)

Not applicable.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

REFERENCE TO A MICROFICHE APPENDIX

Not applicable.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates to a closure system for a container.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION AND TECHNICAL PROBLEMS POSED BY THE PRIOR ART

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.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

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.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the accompanying drawings forming part of the specification, in which like numerals are employed to designate like parts throughout the same,

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a first embodiment of a closure system of the present invention as embodied in a package that includes a container having a top defining a base portion of the closure system to which is mounted a cover or lid shown in a completely closed condition;

FIG. 2 is an exploded, perspective view of the components of the package shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is an enlarged, fragmentary, top plan view of the components when the lid is opened to about 110 degrees relative to the top of the container as shown in FIG. 13;

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 3, but FIG. 4 shows the components separated;

FIG. 5 is an enlarged, fragmentary, plan view of the top of a portion of the container which defines the body or base portion of the closure system;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged, fragmentary, cross-sectional view taken generally along the plane 6-6 in FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is an enlarged, fragmentary, perspective view of a portion of the component shown in FIG. 4;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged, fragmentary view of the components shown in FIG. 7, but FIG. 8 shows the components from a different perspective;

FIG. 9 is a side elevation view of the package shown in the closed condition;

FIG. 10 is a greatly enlarged, fragmentary, cross-sectional view taken generally along the plane 10-10 in FIG. 1 to show the orientation of the components around the pivot axis when the lid is in the fully closed position;

FIG. 11 is a side elevational view similar to FIG. 9, but FIG. 11 shows the lid moved to an approximately 40 degree opened position;

FIG. 12 is a view similar to FIG. 10, but FIG. 12 shows the components in the orientation corresponding to the opened position of the lid shown in FIG. 11;

FIG. 13 is a view similar to FIG. 11, but FIG. 13 shows the lid opened to about 110 degrees;

FIG. 14 is a view similar to FIG. 12, but FIG. 14 shows the components in the orientation corresponding to the opened position of the lid illustrated in FIG. 13;

FIG. 15 is a view similar to FIG. 13, but FIG. 15 shows the lid at a fully opened position of about 190 degrees;

FIG. 16 is a view similar to FIG. 14, but FIG. 16 shows the components in the orientation corresponding to the opened position of the lid illustrated in FIG. 15;

FIGS. 17, 18, 19, and 20 are similar to, and correspond to, FIGS. 10, 12, 14, and 16, respectively, but FIGS. 17, 18, 19, and 20 illustrate a second embodiment of the invention; and

FIGS. 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25 illustrate a presently preferred aesthetic configuration of a package that could include, but need not necessarily include, the utilitarian features of the invention described above with reference to FIGS. 1-20, and FIG. 21 is a front elevation view, FIG. 22 is a rear elevation view, FIG. 23 is a right side elevation view (the left side elevation view being a mirror image), FIG. 24 is a top plan view, and FIG. 25 is a bottom view (the bottom view being plain and unornamented).

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

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 FIGS. 1-16 and is designated generally by reference number 30 in FIG. 1. The closure system, which is hereinafter sometimes referred to more simply as the “closure,” can be characterized as having at least two main portions. One portion is a closure body or base, and another portion is a cover or lid that is mounted to the base. In the first embodiment of the closure illustrated in FIGS. 1-16, the base of the closure is defined by a receptacle or container 32 (FIG. 2), or at least by an upper portion of the container 32. As can be seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, in the preferred first embodiment, a lid 34 is provided as a separate piece which is adapted to be mounted to the closure base as defined by the container 32.

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 FIG. 2, the container 32 has an upper peripheral portion 36 which extends around the top of the container 32 and which defines an opening to the container interior. The peripheral portion 36 includes an outwardly extending flange 38, and also includes a wall 40 that extends upwardly and inwardly. The lid 34 is adapted to be mounted to the peripheral portion 36 (by means described in detail hereinafter), and the peripheral portion 36 may be regarded as the base of the closure. Alternatively, the entire container 32 per se, including the peripheral portion 36, may be regarded as the base.

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 FIG. 2, the container 32 has a generally tapering configuration from a larger diameter upper end to a smaller diameter lower end. However, the container 32 may have any other suitable shape, and the shape may have, for example, a transverse, cross-sectional configuration that is non-circular. Further, an upper region of the container 32 and/or peripheral portion 36 (i.e., the container top defining the closure base) may have a different cross-sectional configuration than the lower region of the container 32. At the top of the container, the peripheral portion 36 may have a non-circular configuration, and the lid 34 may be provided in a configuration adapted to properly mate with such a non-circular configuration.

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 (FIG. 2). The rear of the lid 34 includes two arms 50 (FIG. 2) which each extends from the lid 34. Each arm 50 has a convex protuberance 52 facing toward the other arm (FIG. 4). Each protuberance 52 has a partially spherical surface, and the protuberances 52 are aligned to define a longitudinal pivot axis about which the lid 34 can be pivoted between a closed position and a fully opened position when the lid 34 is properly mounted on the closure base, body, or peripheral portion 36 at the top of the container 32 as described in detail hereinafter.

Each lid arm 50 also has an outwardly projecting engaging member 54 (FIGS. 6, 7, and 8) which has a converging tip. When the lid 34 is mounted on the peripheral portion 36 on the container 32, the engaging member 54 can engage a resistive structure on the portion 36 as described in detail hereinafter.

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 (FIGS. 2 and 4) to which the lid 34 is attached.

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 (FIGS. 2 and 14) is a unitary part of the top of the container 32 and extends radially outwardly with, and as part of, the flange 38 on the peripheral portion 36. In an alternate embodiment (not illustrated), the peripheral wall may extend upwardly instead of radially outwardly, or may extend both upwardly and radially outwardly. In yet another, alternate embodiment (not illustrated), wherein the peripheral portion 36 is a separately molded closure base that is not molded unitary with the container top, the peripheral wall is a part of such a closure base, and the peripheral wall is thus adapted to extend from the container when the separate closure base is mounted on the container.

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 FIG. 2, the peripheral wall 53 may be characterized as being defined by at least the rear region of the flange 38 of the peripheral portion 36 that extends between, and includes, two mounting recesses 60 (FIG. 4) for each receiving one of the lid arms 50. As can be seen in FIG. 5, each recess 60 is partly defined by two, spaced-apart, opposing sidewalls 62. As can be seen in FIG. 8, one of the sidewalls 62 defines a concave socket 64. Each concave socket 64 has a partially spherical surface and is adapted to receive one of the lid arm protuberances 52. The concave sockets 64 are oriented on a pivot axis and are adapted to coincide with the pivot axis defined by the lid arm protuberances 52. When the lid 34 is mounted on the container with each arm 50 received within a mating recess 60, the arm protuberances 52 snap-fit into the recess sockets 64. This configuration defines a hinge structure having a pivot axis that connects the lid 34 to the peripheral wall 53 (FIG. 4) to accommodate pivoting of the lid 34 about the pivot axis between the closed position (FIG. 1) and a fully opened position (FIG. 15).

As can be seen in FIGS. 5, 6, and 7, each recess 60 defines a resistive surface 70. In the preferred, first embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6, the resistive surface 70 is formed in a generally arcuate wall 72 (FIG. 6) by a plurality of generally parallel ridges 76 lying along an arc of a circle partway around or about the pivot axis. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-16, the arc is a circular arc with the hinge pivot axis lying at the center of the circular arc. However, in other contemplated embodiments, the pivot axis could be offset from the center of the circular arc, or the arc may be a non-circular arc (e.g., a parabolic arc).

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. FIGS. 10-16 illustrate the relative movement of the closure system components as the lid is opened. FIG. 9 shows the side elevation view of the package 30 when the lid 34 is in the fully closed position on the top of the container 32. FIG. 10 is an enlarged, cross-sectional view of a portion of the hinge area and mounting structure with the components positioned in correspondence with the fully closed orientation of the lid illustrated in FIG. 9. The cross-sectional view illustrated in FIG. 10 is taken along the view line 10-10 as illustrated in the perspective view shown in FIG. 1. When the lid 34 is fully closed (FIGS. 1, 9, and 10), each lid arm 50 is positioned so that its engaging member 54 is disengaged from the ridges 76 on the resistive surface 70 at the top of the container 32.

When the user begins to lift the lid 34 upwardly from the fully closed position (FIG. 9), the user typically grasps the lifting tab 44 to begin to pivot the lid 34 upwardly. The lid 34 pivots on the pivot axis defined by the protuberances 52 (FIG. 5) which are received in the sockets 64 (FIG. 8) in the recesses 60 of the peripheral wall 53 (FIGS. 2 and 4). The lid 34 is initially pivoted away from the closed position (FIG. 9) through a first range of movement until the lid arm engaging member 54 initially engages the beginning edge 81 of the ribs 76 on the resistive surface (FIG. 12). The initial engagement of the lid engaging member 54 with the beginning edge 81 defines the end of the first range of movement wherein the lid 34 is oriented at about 40 degrees relative to the opening at the top of the container (FIG. 11). Because the engaging member 54 does not engage the beginning edge 81 of the resistive surface until the end of the first range of movement, the user can lift the lid 34 through the first range of movement without sensing a significant amount of resistance. In a preferred design, when the user releases the lid 34 at any point along the first range of movement (before the lid engaging member 54 engages the beginning edge 81 of the resistive surface 70), the lid 34 can fall under the influence of gravity back to the closed position if the hinge structure friction is sufficiently small.

However, after the lid 34 has been lifted to the end of the first range of movement (FIG. 3), additional resistance is encountered as the lid engaging member 54 engages the beginning edge 81 of the resistive surface 70. The user must thereafter apply a greater torque to lift the lid 34 further. The lid 34 can be opened further through a second range of movement (beyond the approximately 40 degree open position illustrated in FIG. 11) if the user applies a torque greater than a predetermined amount of torque necessary to overcome the interference between the lid engaging member 54 and the ridges 76 on the resistive surface 70. Because the tip of the engaging member 54 moves from one ridge 76 to the next adjacent ridge 76 as the lid is lifted through the second range of movement, the resistance force or interference force varies because the system undergoes a small, transient, elastic deformation as the member 54 “snaps” over one ridge 76 to a location between the one ridge and the next adjacent ridge 76.

In the preferred embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 9-16, the second range of movement of the lid 34 extends from the approximately 40 degree opened position of the lid (FIG. 11) to an approximately 110 degree opened position (FIG. 13). During pivoting of the lid 34 through the second range of motion (from the orientation illustrated in FIG. 11 to the orientation illustrated in FIG. 13), if the user releases the lid 34, the lid 34 will remain in the position at which it was released owing to the engagement between the lid engaging member 54 and the ridges 76 on the resistive surface 70. The force of engagement between the engaging member 54 and the resistive surface 70 is sufficient, in the preferred embodiment, to withstand the force of gravity on the lid 34 so that the lid 34 is maintained in any selected position wherein the lid engaging member 54 is engaged with the ridges 76. At any static location of the member 54 along the second range of movement (where the lid engaging member 54 engages the resistive surface 70), the resistance force does not act to provide any substantial bias of the lid 34 toward the closed position or toward the fully opened position.

The end of the second range of movement is defined at the location wherein the lid engaging member 54 engages the terminal edge 82 (FIG. 14) that is defined by the last ridge 76 extending slightly further outwardly at the edge 82 so as to create a greater resistive engagement at that point. The user will feel or sense the greater resistive engagement at the point wherein the lid engaging member 54 engages the terminal edge 82, and this will signal the user that the lid 34 is at a first, predetermined, self-maintained, opened position at the end of the second range of movement (e.g., opened to about 110 degrees relative to the top of the container as illustrated in FIG. 13). If the user releases the lid 34 at any earlier point when the member 54 is engaging the ridges 76, the lid 34 will remain at such a selected, open position, but such a selected, open position is not the first “predetermined” open position. The first, “predetermined,” self-maintained, open position occurs only at the end of the second range of movement where the member 54 engages the last ridge 76 at the terminal edge 82 of the resistive surface 70.

If the user attempts to pivot the lid 34 further (clockwise as viewed in FIG. 13) to move the member 54 beyond the terminal edge 82, the user must apply an increased torque to overcome the engagement between the lid engaging member 54 and the larger last ridge 76 defining the terminal edge 82. If sufficient, increased torque is applied to the lid 34, the lid engaging member 54 will move past the terminal edge 82 and out of engagement with the resistive surface 70. The lid 34 is then no longer subjected to a resistance force resulting from the lid engaging member 54 and resistive surface 70. As a result, the resistance to further pivoting of the lid 34 is substantially reduced, and if the hinge structure friction is sufficiently low, the lid 34 can be released by the user and will swing freely downwardly under the influence of gravity (away from the position illustrated in FIG. 13 toward the position illustrated in FIG. 15). The lid arm 50 will eventually engage the beginning edge 81 of the resistive surface as can be seen in FIG. 16, and this will act as a stop to prevent further pivoting movement of the lid at the approximately 190 degree opened position illustrated in FIG. 15. The range of movement of the lid 34 from the position illustrated in FIG. 13 to the fully opened position illustrated in FIG. 15 may be defined as a third range of movement.

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 FIGS. 1-16, there are two lid arms 50, and each lid arm 50 has an engaging member 54 for each engaging a separate resistive surface 70 in the associated recess 60 (FIG. 4). Thus, the torque that a user must apply to the lid 34 in order to pivot the lid 34 through the second range of movement (from approximately the 40 degree opened position illustrated in FIG. 11 to the approximately 110 degree opened position illustrated in FIG. 13) must be great enough to overcome the sum of the engaging forces of the two engaging members 54 with the respective resistive surfaces 70, as well as the inherent friction in the hinge structure defined by the lid arm protuberances 52 engaged with the recess sockets 64 (FIGS. 7 and 8).

An alternate embodiment of a closure system of the present invention is illustrated in FIGS. 17, 18, 19, and 20 which correspond to FIGS. 10, 12, 14, and 16, respectively, of the first embodiment described above. The second embodiment closure system structure is substantially identical with the first embodiment closure system structure described above except that the second embodiment closure structure does not includes resistive surface ridges (such as ridges 76 illustrated in FIGS. 6, 7, 10, 12, 14, and 16). Rather, the second embodiment closure system has a generally arcuate wall 72A on the peripheral portion 36A, and the arcuate wall 72A has only one terminal edge ridge 82A at the end of a generally smooth, arcuate, resistive surface 70A. The surface 70A may be a circular arc, as illustrated, with the center of the arc coincident with the lid pivot axis. In an alternate embodiment (not illustrated), the center of the circular arc of surface 70A may be offset from the lid pivot axis. Also, the surface 70A need not be a circular arc. Instead, it could be non-circular (e.g., a parabolic arc).

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 FIGS. 1-16. That is, in the second embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 17-20, the lid 34A can pivoted through a first range of movement upon the application of the torque to the lid 34A which is less than the predetermined amount of torque, and this range of movement ends at the point where the engaging member 54A engages the beginning edge of the resistive surface 70A. The second range of movement of the lid 34A is defined as corresponding to the motion of the engaging member 54A from the beginning edge of the resistive surface 70A to the terminal edge 82A. The third range of movement extends from the point where the engaging member 54A passes the terminal edge 82A to the fully opened position shown in FIG. 20 wherein back of the arm 50A engages the beginning edge of the resistive surface 70A at the front end of the arcuate wall 72A.

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 FIGS. 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25. It will be appreciated, however, that the structural features of the utility invention may be provided in a closure system having a lid and base (including a base that may be a unitary portion of the top of a container) which may have other configurations, including other aesthetically pleasing configurations or designs. For example, in such other aesthetically pleasing designs, the container need not have a circular cross section, or a lower portion that decreases in size toward a smaller bottom, or a lid that has a flat top, etc.

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.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7753228 *Oct 8, 2004Jul 13, 2010Yoshida Industry Co., Ltd.Cosmetic container
US7819688 *Oct 28, 2008Oct 26, 2010Hon Hai Precision Ind. Co., Ltd.Integrated socket clip with rotation control tabs
US8522998 *May 1, 2008Sep 3, 2013Electrolux Home Products, Inc.Dishwasher basket assembly
US8833584Jul 2, 2012Sep 16, 2014Weatherchem CorporationClosure with utensil retention mechanism
US9045264Mar 27, 2012Jun 2, 2015Fritz Schaefer GmbhContainer having an articulated pivoting cover
US20080272126 *May 1, 2008Nov 6, 2008Electrolux Home Products, Inc.Dishwasher basket assembly
US20130001184 *Jan 3, 2013Weatherchem CorporationClosure with stay open mechanism
US20130327784 *Jun 6, 2012Dec 12, 2013Tyco Electronics Brasil LtdaContainer closure system
WO2012146341A1 *Mar 27, 2012Nov 1, 2012Fritz Schäfer GmbHContainer having an articulated pivoting cover
Classifications
U.S. Classification220/831, 220/840, 220/832
International ClassificationB65D43/24, B65D43/16
Cooperative ClassificationB65D2251/105, B65D43/164, E05D11/105, B65D2251/1008, E05D7/1077, E05Y2900/602
European ClassificationB65D43/16C1
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 14, 2005ASAssignment
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