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Publication numberUS20060255109 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/127,838
Publication dateNov 16, 2006
Filing dateMay 12, 2005
Priority dateMay 12, 2005
Publication number11127838, 127838, US 2006/0255109 A1, US 2006/255109 A1, US 20060255109 A1, US 20060255109A1, US 2006255109 A1, US 2006255109A1, US-A1-20060255109, US-A1-2006255109, US2006/0255109A1, US2006/255109A1, US20060255109 A1, US20060255109A1, US2006255109 A1, US2006255109A1
InventorsAaron Green
Original AssigneeGraphic Packaging International, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Container with flexible pour spout
US 20060255109 A1
Abstract
A carton with a spout is erected from a blank having a flexible patch attached thereto. The patch cooperates with a pivotable flap of the blank to define the spout. The patch includes a central portion and at least first and second appendages that extend outwardly from the central portion. The central portion is attached to the flap, the first appendage is attached to a first portion of the blank, and the second appendage is attached to a second portion of the blank.
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Claims(42)
1. A container with a spout for dispensing goods from the container's interior, comprising:
at least one sidewall extending at least partially around said container's interior;
at least one flap operative for pivoting relative to said sidewall between open and closed configurations, with said flap being adjacent an opening to said container's interior during the open configuration, and said flap at least partially closing said opening during the closed configuration; and
at least one piece of material connected to both said flap and said sidewall, with said piece of material being operative for
cooperating with said flap for at least partially defining said spout,
at least partially holding said flap in the open configuration by restricting said flap from pivoting to more than a predetermined angle relative to said sidewall in the open configuration, and
being at least partially automatically folded while said flap is moved from the open configuration to the closed configuration.
2. The container according to claim 1, wherein said piece of material is fixedly attached to both said flap and said sidewall.
3. The container according to claim 1, wherein said piece of material is less rigid than said sidewall.
4. The container according to claim 1, wherein:
said piece of material at least primarily comprises a material selected from the group consisting of a polymeric film and a textile, and
said sidewall at least primarily comprises paperboard.
5. The container according to claim 1, wherein said piece of material is attached to:
an inner-facing surface of said flap, and
an inner-facing surface of said sidewall.
6. The container according to claim 1, wherein:
said piece of material includes a central portion and at least first and second appendages,
said first appendage is proximate a first side of said central portion, and
said second appendage is proximate a second side of said central portion that is opposite from said first side of said central portion.
7. The container according to claim 6, wherein while the carton is in the open configuration, each of said first and second appendages functions as a guide that at least spans between said flap and said sidewall for assisting in guiding the goods through said spout.
8. The container according to claim 6, wherein:
said piece of material further includes a third appendage that is proximate a third side of said central portion;
said central portion is attached to said flap;
said first appendage is attached to a first portion of said side wall;
said second appendage is attached to a second portion of said side wall, with said first and second portions of said side wall being on opposite sides of said opening; and
said third appendage is attached to a third portion of said sidewall that is below said opening.
9. The container according to claim 6, wherein while said spout is in the closed configuration:
at least a first fold is defined in said first appendage, and
at least a second fold is defined in said second appendage.
10. The container according to claim 9, wherein:
said first fold includes portions of said first appendage being in at least opposing face-to-face orientation with respect to one another, and
said second fold includes portions of said second appendage being in at least opposing face-to-face orientation with respect to one another.
11. The container according to claim 9, wherein while said spout is in the closed configuration:
at least a third fold is defined between said first appendage and said central portion, and
at least a fourth fold is defined in said second appendage and said central portion.
12. The container according to claim 11, wherein:
said third fold includes a portion of said first appendage and a portion of said central portion being in at least opposing face-to-face orientation with respect to one another, and
said fourth fold includes a portion of said second appendage and a portion of said central portion being in at least opposing face-to-face orientation with respect to one another.
13. The container according to claim 9, wherein while said spout is in the closed configuration:
at least a third fold is defined in said piece of material at least partially by said first appendage, and
at least a fourth fold is defined in said piece of material at least partially by said second appendage.
14. The container according to claim 13, wherein:
said first fold comprises at least a crease in said piece of material;
said second fold comprises at least a crease in said piece of material;
said third fold comprises at least a crease in said piece of material;
said fourth fold comprises at least a crease in said piece of material;
said crease of said first fold extends obliquely with respect to said crease of said third fold while said spout is in said closed configuration;
said crease of said second fold extends obliquely with respect to said crease of said fourth fold while said spout is in said closed configuration;
said crease of said first fold and said crease of said second fold extend at least generally convergently with respect to one another while said spout is in said closed configuration; and
said crease of said first fold and said crease of said second fold extend at least generally parallel with respect to one another while said spout is in said closed configuration.
15. A carton with a spout, comprising:
first and second ends that are spaced apart from one another in a longitudinal direction; and
a plurality of panels that extends at least partially around the carton's interior and includes, at least,
first and second panels that are spaced apart from one another and extend in the longitudinal direction, and
a third panel that extends in the longitudinal direction and has edges respectively attached to edges of said first and second panels, wherein said third panel includes at least one flap defined by at least one fold line, and said flap can be pivoted along said fold line to open an opening in said third panel; and
at least one piece of material that is flexible, is positioned at least partially within the carton's interior, and is attached to at least each of said flap, said first panel and said second panel so that said piece of material cooperates with said flap to at least partially define said spout.
16. The carton according to claim 15, wherein said piece of material is less rigid than said first, second and third panels.
17. The carton according to claim 15, wherein said piece of material is constructed of a different type of material than said plurality of panels.
18. The carton according to claim 15, wherein said piece of material includes a central portion and at least first and second appendages, wherein said first appendage is proximate a first side of said central portion, said second appendage is proximate a second side of said central portion that is opposite from said first side of said central portion, said central portion is attached to said flap, said first appendage is attached to said first panel, and said second appendage is attached to said second panel.
19. The carton according to claim 18, wherein:
said central portion is fixedly attached to said flap,
a marginal portion of said first appendage is fixedly attached to said first panel, and
a marginal portion of said second appendage is fixedly attached to said second panel.
20. The carton according to claim 19, wherein said piece of material further includes a third appendage that is proximate a third side of said central portion of said piece of material, and said third appendage is fixedly attached to said third panel at a position that is below said flap.
21. The carton according to claim 18, wherein:
at least a first fold is defined in said first appendage, and
at least a second fold is defined in said second appendage.
22. The carton according to claim 21, wherein:
said first fold includes portions of said first appendage being in at least opposing face-to-face orientation with respect to one another, and
said second fold includes portions of said second appendage being in at least opposing face-to-face orientation with respect to one another.
23. The carton according to claim 22, wherein:
at least a third fold is defined in said piece of material at least partially by said first appendage;
at least a fourth fold is defined said piece of material at least partially by said second appendage;
said first fold comprises at least a crease in said piece of material;
said second fold comprises at least a crease in said piece of material;
said third fold comprises at least a crease in said piece of material;
said fourth fold comprises at least a crease in said piece of material;
said crease of said first fold extends obliquely with respect to said crease of said third fold;
said crease of said second fold extends obliquely with respect to said crease of said fourth fold;
said crease of said first fold and said crease of said second fold extend at least generally convergently with respect to one another; and
said crease of said first fold and said crease of said second fold extend at least generally parallel with respect to one another.
24. An article for being erected into a carton with a spout, the article comprising:
a blank for at least partially forming the carton after the article is erected, wherein said blank includes at least one flap defined by at least one fold line, and said flap can be pivoted along said fold line; and
at least one piece of material operative for cooperating with said flap and thereby at least partially defining the spout after the article is erected, said piece of material including a central portion and at least first and second appendages, wherein said first appendage is proximate a first side of said central portion, said second appendage is proximate a second side of said central portion that is opposite from said first side of said central portion, said central portion is attached to said flap, said first appendage is attached to a first portion of said blank, and said second appendage is attached to a second portion of said blank, with said first and second portions of said blank being on opposite sides of said flap.
25. The article according to claim 24, wherein:
said first portion of said blank comprises a first panel of said blank, whereby said first appendage is attached to said first panel,
said second portion of said blank comprises a second panel of said blank, whereby said second appendage is attached to said second panel,
said blank further includes a third panel,
said flap is defined in said third panel,
said third panel is attached along a first fold line to said first panel,
said third panel is attached along a second fold line to said second panel, and
said piece of material includes at least first and second creases that are respectively proximate and at least about parallel to said first and second fold lines.
26. The article according to claim 25, wherein said piece of material further includes a third appendage that is proximate a third side of said central portion of said piece of material, and said third appendage is fixedly attached to said third panel at a position that is adjacent said flap.
27. The article according to claim 24, wherein said piece of material is less rigid than said blank.
28. The article according to claim 24, wherein:
at least a first fold is defined in said first appendage, and
at least a second fold is defined in said second appendage.
29. The article according to claim 28, wherein:
said first fold includes portions of said first appendage being in at least opposing face-to-face orientation with respect to one another, and
said second fold includes portions of said second appendage being in at least opposing face-to-face orientation with respect to one another.
30. The article according to claim 28, wherein:
at least a third fold is defined in said piece of material at least partially by said first appendage, and
at least a fourth fold is defined said piece of material at least partially by said second appendage.
31. The article according to claim 30, wherein:
said first fold comprises at least a crease in said piece of material;
said second fold comprises at least a crease in said piece of material;
said third fold comprises at least a crease in said piece of material;
said fourth fold comprises at least a crease in said piece of material;
said crease of said first fold extends obliquely with respect to said crease of said third fold;
said crease of said second fold extends obliquely with respect to said crease of said fourth fold;
said crease of said first fold and said crease of said second fold extend at least generally convergently with respect to one another; and
said crease of said first fold and said crease of said second fold extend at least generally parallel with respect to one another.
32. A flexible patch that is separate from, and for being attached to, a carton blank, the patch comprising:
a central portion;
a first appendage that extends at least partially obliquely from a first side of said central portion;
a second appendage that extends at least partially obliquely from a second side of said central portion; and
a third appendage that extends from a third side of said central portion
33. The patch according to claim 32, wherein:
an acute angle is defined between said first appendage and said third appendage, and
an acute angle is defined between said second appendage and said third appendage.
34. The patch according to claim 32, wherein:
an acute angle is defined between adjacent edges of said first appendage, and
an acute angle is defined between adjacent edges of said second appendage.
35. The patch according to claim 32, wherein:
the patch includes a first plurality of fold lines that are at least proximate said first appendage, and acute angles are respectively defined between adjacent fold lines of said first plurality of fold lines, and
the patch includes second plurality of fold lines that are at least proximate said second appendage, and acute angles are respectively defined between adjacent fold lines of said second plurality of fold lines.
36. The patch according to claim 32, wherein the patch includes a plurality of folds, with each fold of the plurality of folds defining at least an opposing face-to-face configuration in the patch.
37. A method for at least folding a piece of material that is for both being attached to a blank and at least partially defining a spout in a carton erected from the blank, the method comprising:
providing a piece of material;
forming at least a first fold in the piece of material so that a first portion of the piece of material is in at least opposing face-to-face-relation with at least part of a second portion of the piece of material; and
forming at least a second fold in the piece of material so that the first portion of the piece of material is in at least opposing face-to-face relation with at least part of a third portion of the piece of material.
38. The method according to claim 37, further comprising:
providing a blank having at least first, second and third panels, with the first panel being attached along a first fold line to the second panel, the third panel being attached along a second fold line to the first panel, and the first panel including a flap; and
attaching the piece of material to the blank, including
attaching the first portion of the piece of material to the flap while at least the first and second folds are present,
attaching the second portion of the piece of material to the second panel while at least the first and second folds are present, and
attaching the third portion of the piece of material to the third panel while at least the first and second folds are present.
39. The method according to claim 38, further comprising erecting the blank into a carton after the attaching of the piece of material to the blank, wherein the erecting of the blank includes folding along the first and second fold lines.
40. The method according to claim 39, further comprising pivoting the flap outwardly form the carton, whereby the piece of material and the flap cooperate to at least partially define the spout.
41. The method according to claim 37, further comprising:
forming at least a third fold in the piece of material so that at least part of a fourth portion of the piece of material is in at least opposing face-to-face-relation with the second portion of the piece of material; and
forming at least a fourth fold in the piece of material so that at least part of a fifth portion of the piece of material is in at least opposing face-to-face relation with the third portion of the piece of material.
42. The method according to claim 41, further comprising:
providing a blank having at least first, second and third panels, with the first panel being attached along a first fold line to the second panel, the third panel being attached along a second fold line to the first panel, and the first panel including a flap; and
attaching the piece of material to the blank, including
attaching the first portion of the piece of material to the flap,
attaching a margin of the fourth portion of the piece of material to the second panel while at least the first and third folds are present, and
attaching a margin of the fifth portion of the piece of material to the third panel while at least the second and fourth folds are present.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to containers with pour spouts.

It is conventional for cartons to include pour spouts made, for example, of paperboard, metal or plastic, for use in dispensing goods (e.g., cereal, candy or detergent) from the carton's interior. Metal spouts can be relatively expensive, and often must be installed after the associated cartons are erected, which can complicate the process of erecting cartons and filling them with goods. At least some paperboard and plastic spouts also present challenges.

There is always a desire for containers and spouts that provide a new balance of properties.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF SOME ASPECTS OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, a container (e.g., a carton) with a spout can be erected from a blank having a piece of material attached thereto. The blank can include a flap defined by at least one fold line and at least one cut in the blank, and the flap can be pivoted along the fold line. The piece of material that is attached to the blank can be referred to, for example and not for the purpose of narrowing the scope of the present invention, as a patch. The patch is for cooperating with the flap and thereby at least partially defining the spout after the carton is erected.

The patch can include a central portion and at least first and second appendages that extend outwardly from the central portion. The first appendage can be proximate a first side of the central portion, and the second appendage can be proximate a second side of the central portion. The central portion can be attached to the flap, the first appendage can be attached to a first portion of the blank, and the second appendage can be attached to a second portion of the blank, with the first and second portions of the blank being on opposite sides of the flap. Optionally, a third appendage extends from the central portion of the flap and is attached to the blank at a position below the flap.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the patch is folded prior to being attached to the blank, and the patch is attached to the blank while the patch is in its folded configuration. After the carton with the spout is erected, the flap can be pivoted outwardly from the carton, with the result being that the patch and the flap cooperate to at least partially define the spout. Typically, the patch at least partially automatically unfolds each time the spout is opened, and the patch at least partially automatically folds each time the spout is closed.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the patch includes multiple folds. One, two, three or four folds, or a different number of these folds, can each define an opposing face-to-face configuration in the patch, and optionally each of these one or more opposing face-to-face configurations can be opposing face-to-face contacts.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the patch's first and second appendages are operative for at least partially holding the flap in the open configuration by restricting the flap from pivoting to more than a predetermined angle relative to the carton. In addition, the first and second appendages can function as guides that span rearward from the flap for guiding goods passing through the spout.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the carton includes first and second panels that are spaced apart from one another, and a third panel that has edges respectively attached to edges of the first and second panels. The third panel can include the flap. The patch's central portion can be attached to the inner-facing surface of the flap, the patch's first appendage can be attached to the inner-facing surface of the first panel, and the patch's second appendage can be attached to the inner-facing surface of the second panel.

According to one aspect of the present invention, the patch is less rigid than the blank.

In one example, the patch can be a polymeric film and/or a textile, or the like, and the blank can be paperboard, or the like.

Other aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Having described some aspects of the invention in general terms, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, which are illustrative of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention and are not necessarily drawn to scale, and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic, pictorial view of a carton with a pour spout in a closed configuration;

FIG. 2 is a pictorial view of a portion of the carton with the spout in an open configuration;

FIG. 3 is a pictorial view of a portion of the carton from within the carton, with the spout in the closed configuration;

FIG. 4 is a schematic, isolated plan view of a patch that is part of the spout, with the patch in a flat and unfolded configuration;

FIG. 5 is like FIG. 4, except that a first pair of folds has been made in the patch;

FIG. 6 is like FIG. 5, except that a second pair of folds has been made in the patch;

FIG. 7 is like FIG. 6, except that the patch has been turned over, and targets for an adhesive substance are schematically shown by broken lines;

FIG. 8 is a schematic plan view of a blank for forming the carton;

FIG. 9 is a schematic plan view of a portion of the blank with the patch mounted thereto; and

FIG. 10 is an isolated plan view of the patch.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

Referring now in greater detail to the drawings, in which like numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views, a container, which can more specifically be referred to as a carton, of an exemplary embodiment of the present invention is designated by the numeral 10. As best understood with reference to FIG. 1, the carton 10 includes top and bottom ends 12, 14 that are spaced apart from one another in a longitudinal direction. A sidewall extends longitudinally between the top and bottom ends 12, 14. The sidewall can be in the form of a front panel 16, right side panel 18, left side panel 20 (FIGS. 2, 3 and 8) and rear panel 22 (FIG. 8) that are respectively connected to one another at their side edges so that they collectively extend around the carton's interior. In accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the carton 10 is in the form of a box, namely a rectangular parallelepiped, while its pour spout 24 is closed. Accordingly, for each of the panels 16, 18, 20, 22, the panel is at least generally planer, and typically substantially planar. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the spout 24 of the present invention can be incorporated into a wide variety of different types and shapes of containers.

In accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the pour spout 24 is in the front panel 16 of the carton 10. For example, the spout 24 can be used for allowing goods (not shown), such as food products, detergent, or any other type of goods that are conventionally contained in cartons with pour spouts, to be dispensed from the carton 10 via the spout. The spout 24 is in a closed configuration in FIGS. 1 and 3, and in an open configuration in FIG. 2. In accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the spout 24 includes a flap 26 and a piece of flexible material; the piece of flexible material can be referred to as a patch 28. For the exemplary embodiment, portions of the patch 28 are respectively fixedly attached to inner-facing surfaces of the front, right and left side panels 16, 18, 20 and the flap 26, as will be discussed in greater detail below.

Some of the features of the carton 10 in its initial closed configuration will be described in the following, primarily with reference to FIGS. 1 and 3, and in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention. Dashed lines are included in FIG. 1 to schematically illustrate some of the features of the carton 10 that would otherwise be hidden from view in FIG. 1. As schematically illustrated by dashed lines in FIG. 1, after being initially closed, the carton's top and bottom ends 12, 14 typically remain closed by respective overlapping, fastened (e.g., adhered) together arrangements of upper and lower flaps 30, 32. The flaps 30, 32 are respectively connected to the upper and lower edges of the panels 16, 18, 20, 22. The carton's top and bottom ends 12, 14 can be closed in any conventional manner, and optionally they can be opened and closed after being initially closed. Also shown in dashed lines in FIG. 1 is an attachment panel 34. The attachment panel 34 is hingedly attached to the right side panel 18, and it is fastened to a margin of the inner-facing surface of the rear panel 22, as will be discussed in greater detail below. FIG. 1 can be characterized as a right side, front, top perspective view of the carton 10. Disregarding the dashed lines and upper flaps 30, a generally corresponding left side, front, top perspective view of the carton is a mirror image of FIG. 1.

As best understood with reference to FIG. 1, in the initial closed configuration, the flap 26 of the spout 24 is defined by (e.g., bounded by) a pair of tear lines 36 that respectively extend between a cut line 38 and a fold line 40. In addition, a fold line 42 extends between intermediate portions of the cut line 38 to define a pull-tab 44 for being grasped by a user for opening the spout 24, as will be discussed in greater detail below.

For ease of understanding and consistency with FIG. 3, in FIGS. 4-6 the patch is being viewed “as if from within the carton 10”. As best understood with reference to FIG. 4, the patch 28 includes what can be designated (e.g., generally with reference to the opened spout as illustrated in FIG. 2) forward, intermediate and rear right fold lines 46, 48, 50; and forward, intermediate and rear left fold lines 52, 54, 56. The patch 28 also includes a lower fold line 58. With the patch 28 in the flat configuration illustrated in FIG. 4, the forward right and left fold lines 46, 52 can be characterized as extending in a longitudinal direction, and the lower fold line 58 can be characterized as extending the a lateral direction. Therefore, the intermediate and inner right fold lines 48, 50, as well as the intermediate and inner left fold lines 54, 56, can be characterized as extending obliquely with respect to the longitudinal and lateral directions.

With continued reference to FIG. 4, the patch 28 includes right and left appendages 60, 62 that respectively extend from a central portion 64 of the patch at the forward right and left fold lines 46, 52. There is also a lower appendage 66 that extends from the patch's central portion 64 at the lower fold line 58. Optionally, the lower appendage 66 can be omitted. The right intermediate and rear fold lines 48, 50 segregate the right appendage 60 into what can be designated (e.g., generally with reference to the opened spout 24) as being forward, intermediate and rearward right portions 68, 70, 72. Similarly, the left intermediate and rear fold lines 54, 56 segregate the left appendage 62 into forward, intermediate and rearward left portions 74, 78, 80.

As best understood primarily with reference to FIG. 3 and as will be discussed in greater detail below, the patch 28 is folded and attached so that: the central portion 64 is fixedly attached to the inward-facing surface of the flap 26; the central portion 64 and the forward right portion 68 are in an overlapping configuration, or more specifically an opposing face-to-face configuration, with respect to one another; the forward right portion 68 and the intermediate right portion 70 are in an overlapping configuration, or more specifically an opposing face-to-face configuration, with respect to one another; the rearward right portion 72 is fixedly attached to a margin of the inward-facing surface of the right side panel 18; the central portion 64 and the forward left portion 74 are in an overlapping configuration, or more specifically an opposing face-to-face configuration, with respect to one another; the forward left portion 74 and the intermediate left portion 78 are in an overlapping configuration, or more specifically an opposing face-to-face configuration, with respect to one another; the rearward left portion 80 is fixedly attached to a margin of the inward-facing surface of the left side panel 20; and the lower appendage 66 is fixedly attached to the inward-facing surface of the front panel 16. In accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, each of the above-described opposing face-to-face configurations typically will at least initially be an opposing face-to-face contact.

An acceptable method for opening the spout 24 as well as some of the features of the carton 10 while the spout is in its open configuration will be described in the following, with reference to FIG. 2 and in accordance with the exemplary embodiment. Whereas FIG. 2 can be characterized as a right side, front perspective view of a portion of the carton 10 with the spout 24 in the open configuration, a generally corresponding left side, front perspective view is a mirror image of FIG. 2. As illustrated in FIG. 1, tearing has not yet occurred along the spout-defining tear lines 36. A user can transition the spout 24 from the closed configuration illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3 to the open configuration illustrated in FIG. 2 by grasping the spout's pull-tab 44 and pivoting it away from the front panel 16. As a result, tearing occurs along the spout-defining tear lines 36 and the spout 24 pivots outwardly, with this pivoting being about the fold line 40.

This pivoting of the spout 24 can continue until the spout's flap 26 defines a predetermined angle (e.g., an oblique angle and more specifically an acute angle) with respect to the front panel 16, at which time the patch 28 functions to arrest the pivoting. That is, during this pivoting, the right and left appendages 60, 62 can unfold respectively at the intermediate right and left fold lines 48, 54 until the forward and intermediate right portions 68, 70 become substantially coplanar and/or the forward and intermediate left portions 74, 78 become substantially coplanar. Typically, the forward and intermediate right portions 68, 70 will become substantially coplanar at about the same time as the forward and intermediate left portions 74, 78 become substantially coplanar. Not only do the substantially coplanar forward and intermediate right portions 68, 70 control how far the spout 24 can open, they also function as a guide that spans between the flap 26 and the right panel 18 for assisting in guiding the goods (from the container's interior) through the spout. Similarly, the substantially coplanar forward and intermediate left portions 74, 78 function as a guide that spans between the flap 26 and the left panel 20 for assisting in guiding the goods through the spout.

Once the spout-defining tear lines 36 are torn, they typically remain torn and can be generally characterized as cut lines. Otherwise, the spout 24 can be transitioned from the open configuration to the closed configuration by generally reversing the above-described procedure for opening the spout. More specifically and for example, with the spout 24 in the open configuration illustrated in FIG. 2, a user can push the flap 26 toward the front panel 16 so that the flap pivots about the fold line 40 and the flap 26 becomes coplanar with the front panel 16. During this process, and in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the patch 28 will automatically transition from the configuration illustrated in FIG. 2 (e.g., a generally or substantially unfolded configuration) to the configuration illustrated in FIG. 3 (e.g., a folded configuration). Typically, the side and upper edges of the flap 26 frictionally engage the adjacent edges of the front panel 16 after the spout 24 is returned to the closed configuration, and this frictional engagement releasably holds the flap in its closed configuration.

FIGS. 3, 5, 6 and 9 are illustrative of folds in the patch 28 being at least generally “pressed and smooth”, so that folds of the patch that define opposing face-to-face configurations in the patch more specifically respectively define opposing face-to-face contacts in the patch, as discussed above and below. Such “pressed and smooth” folds in the patch 28 can result from initial folding of the patch, as discussed below, and/or because blanks 84 (FIGS. 8 and 9) with patches 28 attached thereto can be provided in stacks, with the weight of the stack causing the folds to be “pressed and smooth”. On the other hand, the folds in the patch 28 are not required to be “pressed and smooth”, and in some situations they will not necessarily be “pressed and smooth”. For example, it is possible in some situations where a spout 24 is opened and closed many times that, over time, the folds in the patch 28 will become less “pressed and smooth” (e.g., over time the folds will tend to define less face-to-face contact). Indeed, and in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention, at least some of the folds in the patch 28 are “loose” such that they do not include fold lines or even creases, although such folds would likely be characterized by the patch at least partially overlapping itself.

In accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the carton 10 can be erected from a blank 84 that has the patch 28 attached thereto, with the patch 28 being in a folded configuration. An acceptable method for folding the patch 28 as well as some of the features of the patch 28 will be described in the following, with reference to FIGS. 4-7.

As best understood with reference to FIG. 4, the periphery of the patch 28 defines numerous oblique angles with respect to the longitudinal and lateral directions. More specifically, each of the angles A1 illustrated in FIG. 4 is an acute angle of about 45 degrees, and each of the angles A2 illustrated in FIG. 4 is an acute angle of about 22.5 degrees.

Before folding the patch 28, it is in the flat configuration illustrated in FIG. 4. As best understood with reference to FIG. 5, the right appendage 60 is folded forward through 180 degrees along the forward right fold line 44 so that the right appendage 60 and the central portion 64 are in opposing face-to-face-relation with respect to one another. Then, the left appendage 62 is folded forward through 180 degrees along the forward left fold line 52 so that the right appendage 60 and the central portion 64 are in opposing face-to-face-relation with respect to one another. The portion of the right appendage 60 that is hidden from view in FIG. 5 is illustrated by dashed lines.

Thereafter, and as best understood with reference to FIG. 6, the intermediate left portion 78 is folded rearward through 180 degrees along the intermediate left fold line 54 so that the intermediate left portion 78 and the forward left portion 74 are in opposing face-to-face-relation with respect to one another. Similarly, the intermediate right portion 70 is folded rearward through 180 degrees along the intermediate right fold line 48 so that the intermediate right portion 70 and the forward right portion 68 are in opposing face-to-face-relation with respect to one another. The order in which the above-described folds are formed can be varied, and each of the above-described opposing face-to-face configurations typically will be opposing face-to-face contacts. As shown in FIGS. 3 and 6, the intermediate right and left fold lines 48, 54 each extend obliquely (with respect to the other fold lines of the carton 10 and patch 28) and convergently with respect to one another.

FIG. 7 is identical to FIG. 6, except that the patch 28 has been turned over, and areas 82 where an adhesive substance typically is applied to the patch, for attaching the patch to the blank 84, are schematically illustrated by broken lines.

The blank 84 from which the carton 10 can be formed, an acceptable method for attaching the patch 28 to the blank, and an acceptable method for erecting the blank are described in the following, in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention. As best understood with reference to FIG. 8, the panels 16, 18, 20, 22 are respectively connected by longitudinal fold lines 86, 88, 90. The attachment panel 34 is connected to the right side panel 18 by a longitudinal fold line 92. The upper flaps 30 are respectively connected to the upper edges of the panels 16, 18, 20, 22 by lateral fold lines 94, 96, 98, 100. The lower flaps 32 are respectively connected to the lower edges of the panels 16, 18, 20, 22 by lateral fold lines 102, 104, 106, 108.

Areas 110 where an adhesive substance is typically applied to the blank 84, for attaching the patch 28 to the blank 84, are schematically illustrated by broken lines in FIG. 8. The patch 28 is attached to the blank 84 (while the patch is in the folded configuration illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7) by respectively mating together the patch's areas 82 for adhering and the blank's areas 110 for adhering, with there being an adhesive substance, or the like, respectively at the areas 82, 100. FIG. 9 illustrates the patch 28 attached (e.g., adhered) to the blank 84 while the blank is flat. Other means for attaching the patch 28 to the blank 84 are also within the scope of the present invention.

After the patch 28 is mounted to the blank 84 as described immediately above, the carton 10 is erected by folding along the longitudinal fold lines 86, 88, 90, 92 so that the patch 28 and the attachment panel 34 are positioned within the carton's interior. More specifically in this configuration, the attachment panel 34 is securely fastened to a marginal portion of the inner-facing side of the rear panel 22 to secure the carton 10 in its erected configuration. Alternatively, any conventional means can be used to hold the carton 10 in its erected configuration. The carton's top end 12 is formed by folding the upper flaps 30 inwardly and respectively fastening them. Similarly, the carton's bottom end 14 is formed by folding the lower flaps 32 inwardly and respectively fastening them. Throughout this Detailed Description section of this disclosure, the fastening and attaching can be via adhering, such as with an adhesive substance such as glue or rubber cement, or any other adhesive substance that is suitable. Alternatively or in addition, the fastening and attaching can be via any other conventional means.

As best understood with reference to FIG. 9 and in accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the patch's rear right and left fold lines 50, 56 are respectively aligned with the blank's longitudinal fold lines 86, 88, after the patch 28 is fastened to the blank 84. Therefore, the folding along the longitudinal fold lines 86, 88 (e.g., during the erecting of the carton 10) simultaneously causes corresponding folding of the patch 28 along the patch's rear right and left fold lines 50, 56. Automatically as a result of the carton 10 being fully erected, the patch's rearward right and left portions 72, 80 extend perpendicular to the front and rear panels 16, 22. Accordingly, the patch's rearward right and left portions 72, 80 extend perpendicular to patch's central portion 64 and the spout's flap 26 while the spout 24 is closed and the carton 10 is fully erected.

In accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, a fold line can be any at least somewhat line-like arranged, although not necessarily straight, form of weakening that facilitates folding therealong; and a tear line can be any at least somewhat line-like arranged, although not necessarily straight, form of weakening that facilitates tearing therealong. More specifically, but not for the purpose of narrowing the scope of the present invention, conventional fold lines include: a crease, such as formed by folding; a score line, such as formed with a blunt scoring knife, or the like, which creates a crushed portion in the material along the desired line of weakness; a cut that extends partially into the material along the desired line of weakness, and/or a series of spaced apart cuts that extend partially into and/or completely through the material along the desired line of weakness; or various combinations of these features. More specifically, but not for the purpose of narrowing the scope of the present invention, conventional tear lines include: a cut that extends partially into the material along the desired line of weakness, and/or a series of spaced apart cuts that extend partially into and/or completely through the material along the desired line of weakness, or various combinations of these features.

As a more specific example, one type of conventional tear line is in the form of a series of spaced apart cuts that extend completely through the material, with adjacent cuts being spaced apart slightly so that a nick (e.g., a small somewhat bridging-like piece of the material) is defined between the adjacent cuts for typically temporarily connecting the material across the tear line. The nicks are broken during tearing along the tear line. The nicks typically are a relatively small percentage of the tear line, and alternatively the nicks can be omitted from or torn in a tear line such that the tear line is a continuous cut line.

In situations where cutting is used to provide a fold line, typically the cutting will not be overly extensive in a manner that might cause a reasonable user to incorrectly consider the fold line to be a tear line. In contrast, where nicks are present in a cut line (e.g., tear line), typically the nicks will not be overly large or overly numerous in a manner that might cause a reasonable user to incorrectly consider the subject line to be a fold line.

In accordance with one specific version of the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, all of the fold lines in the blank 84 are score lines. On the other hand, for all of the fold lines in the patch 28, they are not necessarily formed in advance of the initial folding of the patch, such that each of the fold lines in the patch is merely a crease line resulting from the initial and any subsequent folding therealong. Nonetheless, a crease line can be characterized as a fold line, since a crease line is a line of weakening that at least partially facilitates a subsequent folding therealong. On the other hand and in accordance with one specific version of the exemplary embodiment of the present invention that is illustrated in FIG. 10, each of the fold lines 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56 is in the form of a relatively short, single slit that extends completely through the patch 28, whereas the lower fold line 58 is in the form of two relatively short, single slits that extends completely through the patch 28. Reiterating from above, and in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention, at least some of the folds in the patch 28 can be “loose” such that they do not include fold lines or even creases, although such folds would typically be characterized by the patch at least partially overlapping itself.

In accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the blank 84 is constructed of paperboard, or the like, and the paperboard can optionally have one or more other materials coated or laminated thereon. For example, paperboard typically weighs at least about 100 pounds per ream, with each sheet of paperboard typically being at least about 0.012 inches thick, so that it is heavier and more rigid than ordinary paper. The blank 84 can also be constructed of other materials, such as cardboard, or any other material having properties suitable for enabling the carton to function at least generally as described above.

For example, one or both sides of the blank 84 can be coated with a clay coating, or the like. The clay coating can be printed over with product, advertising, and other information or images. The blank 84 may then be coated with a varnish or other protective coating to protect any information printed on the blank. The blank 84 may also be coated with, for example, a moisture barrier layer, on either or both sides of the blanks. Other coating and laminating upon the blank 84 is also within the scope of the present invention.

In accordance with the exemplary embodiment of the present invention, and optionally disregarding tear, cut and fold lines, the patch 28 is more flexible than the blank 84. Also in accordance with the exemplary embodiment, the patch 28 is thinner than the blank 84. For example, an acceptable patch 28 can be cut from a piece of polymeric film or textile material (e.g., a woven or nonwoven fabric), or the like. According to the exemplary embodiment, the patch 28 is cut from a continuous piece of material so that the patch is a continuous piece of material (e.g., it is unitary). As one specific example, the patch 28 can be made of a spunbonded olefin type nonwoven fabric, or the like. A suitable spunbonded olefin type nonwoven fabric is Tyvek brand fabric that is available from E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, of Wilmington, Del.

The directional references, for example “top”, “front”, “left side” and “longitudinal”, referred to in this Detailed Description section are used for ease of understanding rather than for the purpose of narrowing the scope of the present invention. For example and alternatively, the front panel 16 can be referred to as the rear panel or a side panel, and the other directional references can also be modified and/or exchanged.

It will be understood by those skilled in the art that while the present invention has been discussed above with reference to exemplary embodiments, various additions, modifications and changes can be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7971773Dec 12, 2008Jul 5, 2011Graphic Packing International, Inc.Carton with spout
US20100230480 *Mar 8, 2010Sep 16, 2010Packaging Corporation Of AmericaContainer having reinforcing linerboard and methods of making the same
Classifications
U.S. Classification229/125.04, 229/215
International ClassificationB65D43/00, B65D5/72
Cooperative ClassificationB65D5/742
European ClassificationB65D5/74B1
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