The present invention relates to container removal devices and, more particularly, to a device that facilitates the removal of a lid from a container that includes matter that may inhibit repeated lid removal. The device also increases the sealing properties of the container lid.
Liquid coating materials such as paint, varnish, adhesives and the like are commonly distributed in resealable cans or other types of containers. Providing resealable containers enables end users to use only a portion of the container contents, and then reseal the container to prevent evaporation or drying of the remaining contents. In practice, the ability to reuse the container contents depends, at least in part, on the ability of the end user to effectively reopen the container.
Practically speaking, many end users dip a brush directly into the can, or else pour the can contents into another container, such as a sprayer or rolling pan. When a brush is used, many times it is first wiped against the sealing surfaces of the can lid to remove excess content from the brush. Similarly, when the content is poured from the container, a portion of content inevitably contacts the container seal surfaces. In both instances, upon completion of use, the content on the container seal surfaces may spread throughout the sealing surface when the container lid is replaced. When the content subsequently dries on the sealing surface, the lid may stick to the dried content, making it difficult or impossible to re-open the can for subsequent use.
- BRIEF SUMMARY
Hence, there is a need for a device that will allow the lid of a container to be more readily removed following initial use of the container contents, and/or to effectively reseal the can after subsequent use. The present invention addresses at least this need.
The present invention provides a device that facilitates removal of a container lid following initial and subsequent use of the container contents.
In one embodiment, and by way of example only, a device is provided that facilitates removal of a container lid from a container that includes one or more lid engagement surfaces that surround a container opening within the container, wherein the container lid is configured to be disposed on the container and seal the container opening by engaging the one or more container lid engagement surfaces. The device includes a deformable polymer sheet sheet that is dimensioned to extend entirely over the opening in the container. The sheet is configured to be disposed between the container lid and the one or more lid engagement surfaces, and has an outer peripheral edge that is exposed when the container lid is disposed to seal the container opening.
In another exemplary embodiment, a container assembly includes a container, a removable container lid, and a deformable polymer sheet. The container has an inner peripheral surface that defines an internal volume for containing matter therein. The container includes an opening and one or more lid engagement surfaces. The container opening extends through the container and fluidly communicates the internal volume with an external environment. The removable container lid is coupled to one or more of the lid engagement surfaces and is configured to seal the container opening to thereby prevent removal of the matter contained therein. The deformable polymer sheet extends entirely over the container opening and is disposed between the container lid and each lid engagement surface to which the container lid is coupled. The deformable polymer sheet has an exposed outer peripheral edge.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
These and other features and advantages of the preferred container lid removal facilitator will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.
FIG. 1 is an exploded view of a container assembly that includes an embodiment of a lid removal facilitator according to an embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 shows the container assembly of FIG. 1 in a fully-assembled state;
FIG. 3 shows a close-up cross section view of a portion of the container assembly of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 shows a close-up cross section view of an alternate container that includes an embodiment of the lid removal facilitator shown in FIGS. 1-3;
FIG. 5 shows an embodiment of the lid removal facilitator according to an alternate embodiment;
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
FIG. 6 shows an embodiment of an assembly of a plurality of the lid removal facilitator shown in FIG. 5 in a packaging environment.
With reference first to FIGS. 1 and 2, exploded and assembled views, respectively, of a container assembly 100 are shown. The container assembly 100 includes a container 102, a lid 104, and a lid removal facilitator 106. In the depicted embodiment, the container 102 is a substantially cylindrical container that is configured similar to a conventional paint can. To this end, the container 102 has an inner peripheral surface 108 that defines an internal volume 112 for containing material, such as paint or other liquid material, therein. The container 102 additionally includes an opening 114 and lid engagement surfaces 116. The container opening 114 extends through container 102 and into the internal volume 112, which allows various devices, such as brushes or stirrers, to be dipped into the contained material, or for the contained material to be poured from the container 102. The lid engagement surfaces 116, as will be described more fully below, are coupled to the lid 104, via the lid removal facilitator 106, to sealingly enclose the contained material within the container 102 for subsequent use.
The removable container lid 104, as was just noted, is configured to seal the container opening 114 to prevent removal of the contained material, and to allow for its subsequent use. The lid 104 includes one or more container engagement surfaces 118 that, when the container assembly 100 is assembled, are coupled to the lid engagement surfaces 116 via the lid removal facilitator 106.
The lid removal facilitator 106 is dimensioned to extend entirely over the container opening 114, and when the container lid 104 is used to seal the container 102, to provide one or more exposed outer peripheral edges 122. The lid removal facilitator 106 is preferably formed of a deformable material that will not readily adhere to the container content, is substantially non-porous, and will function as a barrier between the container lid 104 and any residual container content that may remain on the lid engagement surfaces 116. In a particular preferred embodiment, the lid removal facilitator 106 comprises a polymer material that is formed into a deformable polymer sheet. It will be appreciated that any one of numerous polymer materials may be used for the lid removal facilitator 106, so long as it is sufficiently deformable, and chemically impervious to the contents of the container 102. For example, in a particular preferred embodiment, the polymer is polyethylene.
As was previously noted, and as is shown in FIG. 2, the lid removal facilitator 106 is disposed between the container lid 104 and the container 102 when the lid 104 seals the container opening 114. In this position, the lid facilitator 106 engages the lid engagement surfaces 116 on the container 102 and the container engagement surfaces 118 on the lid 104. Because the lid removal facilitator 106 is deformable and substantially non-porous, even though it forms a barrier between the container 102 and the lid 104, it also allows sufficient coupling between the lid engagement surfaces 116 and the container engagement surfaces 118 to seal the container content.
The above-described arrangement is shown most clearly in FIG. 3, in which the lid engagement surface 116 is configured as a groove 302 that extends around the circumference of the container opening 114, and the container engagement surface 118 is configured as a notch 304 that protrudes from a lower surface of the container lid 104. The groove 302 and notch 304 are configured such that the notch 304 will snugly fit within the groove 302 to form a tight seal. As is also shown, the lid removal facilitator 106 is disposed between the container 102 and lid 104, and is pressed into the groove 302 by the notch 304. The lid removal facilitator outer peripheral edge 122 extends beyond the container-lid interface, and is thus exposed. When the lid removal facilitator 106 is in place, standard devices such as a key or screwdriver may be used to easily pry the lid 104 off.
In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-3, the container 102 and lid 104 were configured with groove-and-notch type engagement surfaces 116, 118. It will be appreciated that the lid removal facilitator 106 can also be used with containers configured with other types of engagement surfaces. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, the container 102 and lid 104 could be configured to include threaded lid engagement surfaces 402 and threaded container engagement surfaces 404, respectively.
In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-4, the lid removal facilitator 106 was illustrated as having a non-circular shape. However, this is merely exemplary, and any one of numerous other shapes could be used. For example, as is shown in FIG. 5, the lid facilitator could have a circular shape. No matter the specific shape, the lid removal facilitator 106 is preferably provided in a packaged environment along with a plurality of other lid removal facilitators 106. An example of the this is shown in FIG. 6, in which an exemplary package assembly 600 is shown. The package assembly 600 includes a first cover 602, a second cover 604, and a plurality of lid removal facilitators 106. The first and second covers 602, 604 may be made of any one of numerous materials, but in the depicted embodiment are foldable cardboard-type devices. The plurality of lid removal facilitators 106 are disposed and fastened between the covers 602, 604 by, for example, a staple or other fastener that allows ready and easy removal of one or more facilitator 106.
The lid removal facilitator 106, when placed between a container 102 and lid 104 upon resealing the container 102, creates a barrier between any residual container material on the container 102 and the container engagement surfaces 118 on the lid, making subsequent removal of the lid 104 much easier.
While the invention has been described with reference to a preferred embodiment, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt to a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.