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Publication numberUS20060233980 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/453,970
Publication dateOct 19, 2006
Filing dateJun 16, 2006
Priority dateOct 22, 2001
Also published asCA2464195A1, CA2464195C, CN1571749A, DE60225935D1, DE60225935T2, EP1440015A1, EP1440015B1, US7384674, US20050008800, WO2003035503A1
Publication number11453970, 453970, US 2006/0233980 A1, US 2006/233980 A1, US 20060233980 A1, US 20060233980A1, US 2006233980 A1, US 2006233980A1, US-A1-20060233980, US-A1-2006233980, US2006/0233980A1, US2006/233980A1, US20060233980 A1, US20060233980A1, US2006233980 A1, US2006233980A1
InventorsThorbjorn Andersson, Ib Leth
Original AssigneeTetra Laval Holdings & Finance S.A.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Packaging laminate for a retortable packaging container
US 20060233980 A1
Abstract
A packaging laminate for a retortable packaging container can include a core layer; outer, liquid-tight coatings; and an aluminium foil serving as gas barrier between the core layer and one of the two outer liquid-tight coatings. The packaging laminate can include at least one additional layer serving as gas barrier between the core layer and the aluminium foil. The additional gas barrier layer can be bonded to the core layer by an interjacent lamination or adhesive layer.
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Claims(19)
1. A method of producing a packaging laminate for a retortable packaging container, comprising:
forming at least one gas barrier layer over a first side of a core layer;
forming at least one adhesive layer of polypropylene between the first side of the core layer and the at least one gas barrier layer so as to bond the core layer to the at least one gas barrier layer; and
forming a first outer liquid-tight coating over the at least one gas barrier layer.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein the core layer is formed of paper or paperboard.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein the at least one gas barrier layer is formed of ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymers (EVOH).
4. The method of claim 1, wherein the at least one gas barrier layer is formed of a material selected from the group consisting of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), amorphous polyethylene terephthalate (APET), cyclic olefin copolymers (COC), polyamide (PA), amorphous polyamide (APA), liquid crystalline polymers (LCP), and polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH).
5. The method of claim 1, wherein the quantity or thickness of the at least gas barrier layer is 10-30 g/m2.
6. The method of claim 1, wherein the quantity or thickness of the at least one gas barrier layer is 5-20 g/m2.
7. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
forming an aluminum foil between the at least one gas barrier layer and the first outer liquid-tight coating; and
forming a second outer liquid-tight coating over a second side of the core layer.
8. The method of claim 1, wherein the first outer liquid-tight coating is formed of a mixture of polypropylene and polyethylene.
9. The method of claim 1, which comprises forming more than one adhesive layer of polypropylene between the first side of the core layer and the at least one gas barrier layer.
10. The method of claim 1, further comprising fold forming and sealing the packaging laminate to produce a packaging container, the first outer liquid-tight coating forming an inner surface of the packaging container.
11. The method of claim 10, further comprising:
filling the packaging container; and
heat treating the filled packaging container in a retort to extend the shelf life of the contents of the packaging container.
12. A method of producing a packaging laminate for a retortable packaging container, comprising:
forming at least one gas barrier layer of ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymers (EVOH) over a first side of a core layer;
forming at least one adhesive layer of polypropylene between the first side of the core layer and the at least one gas barrier layer so as to bond the at least one gas barrier layer to the core layer;
forming an aluminum foil over the at least one gas barrier layer;
forming a first outer liquid-tight coating over the aluminum foil layer; and
forming a second liquid-tight coating over a second side of the core layer.
13. The method of claim 12, wherein the core layer is formed of paper or paperboard.
14. The method of claim 12, wherein the quantity or thickness of the at least gas barrier layer is 10-30 g/m2.
15. The method of claim 12, wherein the quantity or thickness of the at least one gas barrier layer is 5-20 g/m2.
16. The method of claim 12, which comprises forming more than one adhesive layer of polypropylene between the first side of the core layer and the at least one gas barrier layer.
17. The method of claim 12, wherein the first outer liquid-tight coating is formed of a mixture of polypropylene and polyethylene.
18. The method of claim 12, further comprising fold forming and sealing the packaging laminate to produce a packaging container, the first outer liquid-tight coating forming an inner surface of the packaging container.
19. The method of claim 18, further comprising:
filling the packaging container; and
heat treating the filled packaging container in a retort to extend the shelf life of the contents of the packaging container.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a divisional of co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 10/491,914 filed on Sep. 1, 2004, the entire contents of which is incorporated by reference, and for which benefit is claimed under 35 U.S.C. 120 and which is a U.S. National Stage of International Patent Application No. PCT/SE02/01901 filed on Oct. 18, 2002, the entire contents of which is also incorporated by reference and for which benefit is claimed under U.S.C. 371. Priority is also claimed to Swedish Patent Application No. 0103507-0 filed on Oct. 22, 2001, the entire contents of which is incorporated by reference and for which priority is claimed under 35. U.S.C. 119.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a packaging laminate for a retortable packaging container comprising a core layer, outer, liquid-tight coatings and an aluminium foil between the core layer and the one outer coating and serving as a gas barrier.

BACKGROUND ART

A packaging laminate of the type which is described above is known from, for example, international patent application carrying publication number WO97/02140. The prior art packaging laminate has a rigid, but foldable core layer of paper or paperboard and outer, liquid-tight coatings of moisture and heat resistant plastic material on both sides of the core layer. In order to impart to the prior art packaging laminate tightness properties also against gases, in particular oxygen gas, the packaging laminate moreover displays an aluminium foil which serves as gas barrier and which is disposed between the paper or paperboard layer and the one outer plastic coating.

From the prior art packaging laminate, retortable packaging containers are produced with the aid of filling machines of the type which, from a web or from prefabricated blanks of the packaging laminate, form fill and seal finished packages in accordance with the so-called form/fill/seal principle well-known in packaging contexts.

From, for example, a flat folded tubular packaging blank of the prior art packaging laminate, retortable packaging containers are produced in that the packaging blank is first raised to an open, tubular packaging carton which is sealed at its one end by fold forming and thermosealing of continuous, foldable end panels of the packaging carton, for the formation of a substantially planar bottom closure. The packaging carton provided with a bottom is filled with the relevant contents, e.g. food, through its open end which is thereafter sealed by an additional fold forming and thermosealing of corresponding end panels of the packaging carton for the formation of a substantially planar top closure. The filled and sealed, normally parallelepipedic packaging container is thereafter ready for a heat treatment in order to impart to the packed contents or food extended shelf-life in its unopened packaging container.

A heat treatment which extends shelf-life may suitably be carried into effect in the manner and under the conditions described in international patent application carrying publication number WO98/16431 which is hereby incorporated as reference. The packaging container is, in this instance, placed in a retort and is heated therein with the aid of a first gaseous medium flowing in contact with the outer walls of the packaging container, e.g. hot steam, to a temperature generally within the range of 70-130 C. After a predetermined stay time at the selected temperature, the supply of the gaseous medium is discontinued. The packaging container is cooled with a second, circulating gaseous medium, e.g. cold air, and finally with a circulating liquid medium, e.g. cold water. The cooled, retorted packaging container is thereafter removed from the retort for storage, transport and/or other handling.

Even if a packaging container of the prior art packaging laminate withstands, in normal cases, a rough heat treatment which retorting entails, it nevertheless not seldom occurs that the aluminium foil embodied as gas barrier is, during the reforming of the packaging laminate into packaging containers, subjected to such powerful tensile stresses that it cracks in particularly exposed regions of the packaging laminate. The occurrence of cracks in the tensile-sensitive aluminium foil entails that the packaging container correspondingly loses tightness properties against gases which can thereby penetrate into the packaging container and come into contact with the packed product. The problem with undesirable penetration of gases through cracks which have occurred in the aluminium foil becomes particularly serious in those cases when the packed product is particularly sensitive to the action of gases, e.g. oxygen gas, which may very rapidly destroy a product and render it unusable.

One object of the present invention is, therefore, to obviate the above-described drawback in connection with the prior art packaging laminate.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a packaging laminate of the type described by way of introduction which may readily be reformed by fold forming and thermosealing into a retortable packaging container without the risk that the packaging container loses its desirable tightness properties against gases, in particular oxygen gas, even if the tensile-sensitive aluminium foil is subjected to crack formation and similar untightness during fold forming of the packaging laminate.

Yet a further object of the present invention is to provide a retortable packaging container produced from the packaging laminate for perishable and oxygen gas-sensitive food products.

These and other objects and advantages will be attained according to the present invention by a packaging laminate as claimed in independent claim 1 and by a packaging container produced from the packaging laminate as claimed in independent claim 8. Expedient embodiments of the packaging laminate according to the present invention have further been given the characterising features as set forth in subclaims 2-7.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Thus, the present invention provides a packaging laminate for a retortable packaging container comprising a core layer, outer, liquid-tight coatings and an aluminium foil which serves as a gas barrier and which is disposed between the core layer and the one outer coating, the packaging laminate including, for the purpose of promoting gas tightness, a further layer serving as gas barrier between the core layer and the aluminium foil.

The present invention also provides a retortable packaging container for particularly perishable and oxygen gas-sensitive products produced by fold forming and sealing of the packaging laminate according to the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE ACCOMPANYING DRAWING

The present invention will now be described and explained in greater detail herein below with particular reference to the accompanying Drawing. In the accompanying Drawing:

FIG. 1 schematically shows the general structure of a packaging laminate for a retortable packaging container according to the prior art technology;

FIG. 2 schematically shows the general structure of a packaging laminate for a retortable packaging container according to a first embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 3 schematically shows the general structure of a packaging laminate for a retortable packaging container according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS AND THE ACCOMPANYING DRAWING

FIG. 1 shows the general structure of a prior art packaging laminate carrying the generic reference numeral 10. The packaging laminate 10 has a rigid, but foldable core layer 11 of paper or paperboard, as well as outer, liquid-tight coatings 12 and 13 on both sides of the core layer 11. The packaging laminate 10 further displays an aluminium foil 14 serving as gas barrier and disposed between the core layer 11 and the one outer, liquid-tight coating 12.

From the prior art packaging laminate 10, a retortable packaging container is produced in a per se known manner by fold forming and thermosealing of a sheet- or web-shaped blank of the packaging laminate 10. From, for example, a flat-folded tubular packaging blank, such a retortable packaging container is produced in that the packaging laminate is first raised to an open, tubular packaging carton whose one end is sealed by fold forming and thermosealing of continuous, foldable end panels of the packaging carton for the formation of a substantially planar bottom closure. The packaging carton with the closed bottom is filled with the relevant contents, e.g. a food, through its open end and is thereafter given a substantially planar top closure by additional fold forming and thermosealing of corresponding continuous, foldable end panels of the packaging carton. The thus filled and closed, normally parallelepipedic packaging container is thereafter ready for a heat treatment in a retort in order to impart to the packed contents or food so-called extended shelf-life in the unopened packaging container.

The problem inherent in the prior art packaging laminate 10 is, as has already been described, that the aluminium foil 14 included in the packaging laminate can, because of its tensile sensitivity, crack, in particular in areas where tensile stresses on the aluminium foil are particularly powerful during the reforming of the packaging laminate into a packaging container, and that the produced packaging container thereby loses tightness properties against gases. Such cracks and similar untightness in the aluminium foil of the packaging laminate can, in certain cases, be so extensive and serious that the packaging container becomes totally unusable, in particular if the packaging container is intended to be used for particularly perishable and oxygen gas-sensitive foods which would rapidly be destroyed and deteriorate in quality if they came into contact with oxygen gas.

The problem in connection with the above-described, prior art packaging laminate 10 is solved in a simple manner and using simple means by a packaging laminate according to the present invention with a structure illustrated schematically in FIG. 2.

The packaging laminate carrying the generic reference numeral 20 in FIG. 2 similarly displays a rigid, but foldable core layer 21 of paper or paperboard and outer, liquid-tight coatings 22 and 23. Between the core layer 21 and the one outer, liquid-tight coating 22, the packaging laminate 20 has an aluminium foil 24 serving as gas barrier.

The packaging laminate 20 according to the present invention differs from the prior art packaging laminate 10 in FIG. 1 principally in that it displays, between the aluminium foil 24 and the core layer 21, an additional layer 25 serving as gas barrier in order to compensate for or counteract possible cracks which may occur in the aluminium foil 24 when the packaging laminate 20 is reformed into a packaging container.

Preferred materials for the additional or supplementary gas barrier layer 25 in the packaging laminate 20 according to the present invention may be selected from the group essentially comprising polyethylene terephthalate (PET), amorphous polyethylene terephthalate (APET), cyclic olefin copolymers (COC), polyamide (PA), amorphous polyamide (APA), liquid crystalline polymers (LCP), ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymers (EVOH) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) which may possibly be applied on a thin carrier layer, such as, for example, paper.

The outer, liquid-tight coating 23 may be a plastic which is selected from the group essentially comprising polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyester (PET), or mixtures thereof. Examples of a usable polyethylene plastic may be high density polyethylene (HDPE) or linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), an example of a usable polypropylene plastic may be oriented polypropylene (OPP), and an example of a usable polyester plastic may be amorphous polyester (APET).

Preferably, the liquid-tight coating 23 consists of a physical or mechanical mixture of polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) which, in addition to superior tightness properties against liquid, also has sufficient moisture and heat resistance to withstand such extreme moisture and temperature stresses as occur in a normal heat treatment in a retort for extending shelf-life. An outer coating 23 of a physical or mechanical mixture of polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) moreover displays superior printability, at the same time as making for mechanically strong and liquid-tight seals by thermosealing when the packaging laminate 20 is reformed into retortable packaging containers.

The thickness or quantity of the outer, liquid-tight coating 23 may vary within broad limits, but is generally 25-45 g/m2.

Correspondingly, the outer, liquid-tight coating 22 may consist of a plastic which is selected from the group essentially comprising polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyester (PET) and copolymers thereof. An example of a usable polyethylene plastic may be a high density polyethylene (HDPE) or a linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) and an example of a usable polyester plastic may be an amorphous polyester (APET).

Preferably, the liquid-tight coating 22 consists of a copolymer of propylene and ethylene which is sufficiently moisture and heat-resistant to withstand extreme moisture and temperature stresses which occur in a normal heat treatment in a retort intended to extend shelf-life. A coating of a copolymer of propylene and ethylene moreover makes for mechanically strong and liquid-tight seals when the packaging laminate 20 is reformed into a packaging container for retorting purposes.

The thickness or quantity of the outer plastic coating 22 may vary within broad limits, but is generally within the range of 25-35 g/m2.

While a packaging container which is produced by fold forming and sealing of the prior art packaging laminate 10 in FIG. 1 not seldom loses desirable tightness properties against gases, in particular oxygen gas, because of cracks which may occur in the aluminium foil 14 when the packaging laminate 10 is reformed into a packaging container, this risk is effectively counteracted or obviated by the layer 25 employed as an additional gas barrier between the core layer 21 and the aluminium foil 24 in the packaging laminate 20 according to the present invention. The quantity or thickness of the layer 25 in the illustrated embodiment is in general 10-30 g/m2.

FIG. 3 schematically illustrates a packaging laminate 30 according to one preferred embodiment of the present invention. The packaging laminate 30 includes a rigid, but foldable core layer 31 of paper or paperboard and outer, liquid-tight coatings 32 and 33. Between the core layer 31 and one of the two outer, liquid-tight coatings 32, the packaging laminate 30 has an aluminium foil 34 serving as gas barrier.

The packaging laminate 30 according to this preferred embodiment differs from the prior art packaging laminate 10 in FIG. 1 in the same manner as the packaging laminate 20 in FIG. 2 principally in that, between the aluminium foil 34 and the core layer 31, it has an additional layer 35 serving as gas barrier to compensate for or counteract possible cracks which may occur in the aluminium foil 34 when the packaging laminate 30 is reformed into a packaging container.

Preferred materials for the additional or supplementary gas barrier layer 35 in the packaging laminate 30 may be selected from the group essentially comprising polyethylene terephthalate (PET), amorphous polyethylene terephthalate (APET), cyclic olefin copolymers (COC), polyamide (PA), amorphous polyamide (APA), liquid crystalline polymers (LCP), ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymers (EVOH) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) which may optionally be applied on a thin carrier layer, such as, for example, paper.

The outer, liquid-tight coating 33 may be a plastic which is selected from the group essentially comprising polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyester (PET), or mixtures thereof. Examples of a usable polyethylene plastic may be high density polyethylene (HDPE) or linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), an example of a usable polypropylene plastic may be oriented polypropylene (OPP) and an example of a usable polyester plastic may be amorphous polyester (APET).

Preferably, the liquid-tight coating 33 consists of a physical or mechanical mixture of polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) which, in addition to superior tightness properties vis--vis liquid, also displays sufficient moisture and heat-resistance to withstand such extreme moisture and temperature stresses as occur in a normal heat treatment in a retort for extending shelf-life. An additional coating 33 of a physical or mechanical mixture of polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) moreover displays superior printability, at the same time as it makes for mechanically strong and liquid-tight seals by thermosealing when the packaging laminate 33 is reformed into retortable packaging containers.

The thickness or quantity of the outer liquid-tight coating 33 may vary within broad limits, but is in general within the range of 25-45 g/m2.

Correspondingly, the outer, liquid-tight coating 32 may consist of a plastic which is selected from the group essentially comprising polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyester (PET) and copolymers thereof. Examples of a usable polyethylene plastic may be a high density polyethylene (HDPE) or a linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) and an example of a usable polyester plastic may be an amorphous polyester (APET).

Preferably, the liquid-tight coating 32 consists of a copolymer of propylene and ethylene which is sufficiently moisture and heat-resistant to withstand extreme moisture and temperature stresses which occur in a normal heat treatment for extending shelf-life which is carried out in a retort. A coating of a copolymer of propylene and ethylene moreover makes for mechanically strong and liquid-tight seals when the packaging laminate 30 is reformed into a packaging container for retorting purposes.

The thickness or quantity of the outer plastic coating 32 may vary within broad limits, but is in general within the range of 25-35 g/m2.

As is illustrated schematically in FIG. 3, the layer 35 used as additional gas barrier is bonded to the core layer 31 by at least one interjacent lamination or adhesive layer 36. By a suitable selection of material in the interjacent lamination or adhesive layer 36, among others the advantage will be gained in comparison with the packaging laminate 20 in FIG. 2 that the quantity or thickness of the layer 35 employed as additional gas barrier may be made thinner without the tightness properties of the packaging laminate 30 being negatively affected. Examples of such a material in the layer 36 may be polypropylene (PP) or other olefin polymer with which the thickness of the additional gas barrier layer 35 may be made as thin as 5-20 g/m2 with gas tightness properties of substantially the same order of magnitude as the packaging laminate 20 in FIG. 2 which does not employ such an interjacent layer of polypropylene or other olefin polymer.

The packaging laminate 30 according to the preferred embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 3 is thus a more economical, but just as efficient packaging laminate as the packaging laminate 20 for a retortable packaging container which is intended principally for particularly perishable and oxygen gas-sensitive products such as foods.

It will thus be apparent from the foregoing description that the present invention, by merely a simple modification of the prior art packaging laminate, provides a packaging laminate which, by fold forming and sealing, may be reformed into a retortable packaging container possessing sufficiently good tightness properties against gases, in particular oxygen gas, in order reliably to be able to store particularly perishable and oxygen gas-sensitive products such as foods.

Naturally, the present invention is not restricted to the embodiments illustrated and described by way of example, but numerous various alterations and modifications are conceivable without departing from the inventive concept as this is defined by the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7195803 *Oct 1, 2001Mar 27, 2007Tetra Laval Holdings & Finance S.A.Between gas barrier and core layer is a layer of a lamination or sealing agent having a melting point higher than the maximum temperature to which the container is to be subjected
Classifications
U.S. Classification428/34.2
International ClassificationB32B15/08, B32B27/10, B65D81/24, B65D65/40
Cooperative ClassificationB32B27/10, B32B15/08
European ClassificationB32B15/08, B32B27/10