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Publication numberUS20070045223 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/203,296
Publication dateMar 1, 2007
Filing dateAug 15, 2005
Priority dateAug 15, 2005
Also published asWO2007022094A2, WO2007022094A3
Publication number11203296, 203296, US 2007/0045223 A1, US 2007/045223 A1, US 20070045223 A1, US 20070045223A1, US 2007045223 A1, US 2007045223A1, US-A1-20070045223, US-A1-2007045223, US2007/0045223A1, US2007/045223A1, US20070045223 A1, US20070045223A1, US2007045223 A1, US2007045223A1
InventorsAngie Noll, Tim Haley
Original AssigneeGraham Packaging Company, L.P.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Container with grip
US 20070045223 A1
Abstract
A plastic container characterized by indented grip regions and method of manufacture are claim. An inner panel is present in the indented grip region, the inner panel surrounded by a transition wall upper portion on one side, a panel edge on a side opposite to said upper portion, a ceiling above said inner panel, and a transition wall lower portion below the inner panel. The transition wall lower portion gently slopes from the grip region towards the base, providing a transition from the indented grip region to the container sidewall.
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Claims(19)
1. A plastic container comprising:
a base;
a sidewall;
a body having a grip region, the grip region comprising an inner panel surrounded by:
a joining wall on one side,
a panel edge on a side opposite to said joining wall,
a ceiling above the inner panel
a transition panel below the inner panel,
wherein the transition panel gently slopes from the inner panel towards the base, providing a transition to the sidewall.
2. The container of claim 1, wherein the container comprises two opposing grip regions and the inner panels of each opposing grip region are substantially parallel.
3. The container of claim 1, wherein the ceiling is in a plane approximately parallel to the plane of the base.
4. The container of claim 1, wherein the ceiling joins the inner panel at an inner ceiling edge, the ceiling joins the sidewall at an outer ceiling edge, and the ceiling joins the joining wall at a chamfered corner.
5. The container of claim 1, wherein the inner panel meets the joining wall at an inner joining edge and the joining wall meets the container sidewall at an outer joining edge.
6. The container of claim 1 wherein the grip region further comprises a dart.
7. The container of claim 1 wherein the grip region further comprises ribs.
8. The container of claim 1, wherein the container is stretch blow molded.
10. The container of claim 1, wherein the grip region allows for easy handling of the container.
11. A plastic container comprising
a base;
a sidewall; and
a body having a pair of opposing grip regions, each grip region comprising an inner panel in a plane substantially perpendicular to a plane of the base and the inner panel is surrounded by:
a joining wall on one side;
a panel edge on a side opposite to the joining wall;
a ceiling above the inner panel; and
a transition panel below the inner panel;
the ceiling and the panel edge each adjoin the container sidewall;
a portion of the joining wall is in a substantially vertical plane, the joining wall partially surrounds the inner panel, and the joining wall meets with the sidewall at an outer joining edge; and
the transitional panel gently slopes from the inner panel towards the base, providing a transition to the sidewall, and the transition panel ends at the sidewall proximal to the base.
12. The container of claim 11 wherein the transition panel narrows as it approaches the base.
13. The container of claim 11 wherein the base comprises a concave annular wall between a standing surface of the base and the sidewall.
14. The container of claim 11, wherein the transition panel merges with the annular wall.
15. The container of claim 11 wherein the grip region facilitates handling of the container.
16. A grip region for a container, the grip region comprising an inner panel, the inner panel surrounded by:
a joining wall on one side;
a panel edge on a side opposite to the joining wall;
a ceiling above the inner panel; and
a transition panel below the inner panel
wherein the transition panel gently slopes from the inner panel towards a base of the container, the transition panel providing a transition to the sidewall.
17. The grip region of claim 16, wherein the ceiling joins the inner panel at an inner ceiling edge, the ceiling joins the sidewall at an outer ceiling edge, and the ceiling joins the joining wall at a chamfered corner.
18. The grip region of claim 16, wherein the inner panel meets the joining wall at an inner joining edge and the joining wall meets the container sidewall at an outer joining edge.
19. The grip region of claim 16, wherein the slope of the transition panel facilitates fluidic motion of plastic through the grip region.
20. A method for forming a container, comprising
receiving a parison;
enclosing the parison with a mold that includes a cavity;
inflating the parison in the mold to form a blow molded container having a grip region, the grip region comprising an inner panel surrounded by:
a joining wall on one side;
a panel edge on a side opposite to the joining wall;
a ceiling above the inner panel; and
a transition panel below the inner panel
wherein the transition panel gently slopes from the inner panel towards a base of the container, the transition panel providing a transition to the sidewall.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to blow molded containers, and more particularly to grippable containers.

2. Related Art

Grippable containers that are currently available in the art are manufactured by blow molding, often with great difficulty. This is because these containers typically have an edge in the container sidewall where the container is indented for the purposes of creating a recessed region for gripping. These edges are typically at a sharp angle of about 90, which makes blow molding the area around the edge problematic.

For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,598,941 to Semeresky et al. has multiple edges between the sidewall and the grip panel structure. It is difficult to move molten plastic into and around these edges. As a result, the design of grippable containers manufactured by the blow molding process can be both time consuming and tedious, and the position of the grip limited. Thus, there is a need in the art for a grippable plastic container that can be manufactured with relative ease and a grip design that provides more options for positioning.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a plastic container having a base, a sidewall, and a body with a grip region. The grip region contains an inner panel surrounded by a joining wall on one side, a panel edge on the opposing side, a ceiling above the inner panel, and a transition panel below the inner panel. The transition panel gently slopes from the inner panel towards the base of the container.

In one embodiment of the invention, the container has two opposing grip regions where the inner panels of each grip region are substantially parallel, and the ceiling is in a plane substantially parallel to the plane of the base. The ceiling joins the inner panel at an inner ceiling edge and joins the sidewall at an outer ceiling edge. The ceiling also joins the joining wall at a chamfered corner. The inner panel meets the joining wall at an inner joining edge and the joining wall meets the container sidewall at an outer joining edge.

In an alternate embodiment of the present invention, the grip region includes a dart. The grip region can also have ribs and can provide for easy handling of the container. The container can also be stretch blow molded.

Another embodiment of the present invention is directed towards a plastic container comprising a base, sidewall, and a body having a pair of opposing grip regions. Each grip region contains an inner panel in a plane substantially perpendicular to a plane of the base. The inner panel is surrounded by a joining wall on one side, and a panel edge on the opposite side. A ceiling is located above the inner panel, and a transition panel is located below the inner panel. The ceiling and the panel edge each adjoin the container sidewall. A portion of the joining wall is in a substantially vertical plane. The joining wall partially surrounds the inner panel and meets with the sidewall at an outer joining edge. The transitional panel gently slopes from the inner panel towards the base, providing a transition to the sidewall, and the transition panel ends at the sidewall proximal to the base.

In one embodiment of the invention, the transition panel narrows as it approaches the base. The base can comprise a concave annular wall between a standing surface of the base and the sidewall. In another embodiment, the transition panel merges with the annular wall. The grip region can facilitate handling of the container.

A further embodiment is directed to a grip region for a container, the grip region comprising an inner panel, the inner panel surrounded by a joining wall on one side, a panel edge on a side opposite to the joining wall, a ceiling above the inner panel, and a transition panel below the inner panel, wherein the transition panel gently slopes from the inner panel towards a base of the container, the transition panel providing a transition to the sidewall.

The ceiling can join the inner panel at an inner ceiling edge, the sidewall at an outer ceiling edge, and the joining wall at a chamfered corner. The inner panel meets the joining wall at an inner joining edge and the joining wall meets the container sidewall at an outer joining edge. In a further embodiment, the smooth slope of the transition panel facilitates fluidic motion of plastic through the grip region.

Another embodiment of the invention is directed to a method for forming a container including receiving a parison, enclosing the parison with a mold that includes a cavity, and inflating the parison in the mold to form a blow molded container having a grip region. The grip region contains an inner panel surrounded by a joining wall on one side, a panel edge on a side opposite to the joining wall, a ceiling above the inner panel a transition panel below the inner panel. The transition panel gently slopes from the inner panel towards a base of the container, the transition panel providing a transition to the sidewall.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing and other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following, more particular description of a preferred embodiment of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings wherein like reference numbers generally indicate identical, functionally similar, and/or structurally similar elements.

FIG. 1 depicts a side view of a grip region according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates a front view of a grip region according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a side perspective view of a grip region as viewed from the container base according to one embodiment the present invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates another side perspective view of a grip region as viewed from the container top according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a transverse sectional view taken along line 5-5 of FIG. 1 according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates a side view of a container embodying the grip region of the present invention.

FIG. 7 illustrates a front view of a container embodying the grip region of the present invention.

FIG. 8 as viewed from the container base illustrates a side perspective view of a container embodying the grip region of the present invention.

FIG. 9 illustrates another side perspective of a container as viewed from the container top embodying the grip region of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the invention are discussed in detail below. In describing embodiments, specific terminology is employed for the sake of clarity. However, the invention is not intended to be limited to the specific terminology so selected. While specific exemplary embodiments are discussed, it should be understood that this is done for illustration purposes only. A person skilled in the relevant art will recognize that other components and configurations can be used without parting from the spirit and scope of the invention. All references cited herein are incorporated by reference as if each had been individually incorporated.

The present invention is directed to a grip region for a plastic container. The illustrated embodiments depict the grip region as part of a container, in order to provide the appropriate context in which to discuss the inventive aspects of the present invention. FIGS. 1-4 illustrate the grip region 108 in a container having a base 102, sidewall 104 and a body 106. The container body 106 contains the indented grip region, 108. The indentation of the grip region 108 is relative to the periphery or outer rim of the base 102 where the base 102 meets the sidewall 104. (See FIG. 1) The container body 106 illustrated in FIGS. 1-5 has two opposing grip regions 108 on opposite sides of the container body. The grip regions enable gripping with a single hand, and can be, for example, mirror images.

Each grip region 108 contains an inner panel 110 such that the horizontal distance between the two indented grip regions DG is less than the (longitudinal) diameter of the base DB (see FIG. 2) and the inner panel 110 is in a plane substantially perpendicular to that of the base 102. The indented grip region 108 is framed by and includes an inner panel edge 112 on one side (left as illustrated in the drawings) and an inner joining edge 114 on the opposite side (right as illustrated in the drawings), such that the inner joining edge 114, the inner panel 110, and the inner panel edge 112 are all in approximately the same horizontal plane. As illustrated in FIG. 3, an inner ceiling edge 116 is above the inner panel 110, and below the inner panel 110 is a transition panel 118.

Thus the inner panel 110 extends horizontally from the inner panel edge 112 to the inner joining edge 114 and vertically from the inner ceiling edge 116 to the transition panel 118. A portion of the inner panel 110 can also be slightly recessed relative to the rest of the grip region in order to make the panels easy to hold by a user. In the illustrated embodiments the inner panel 110 includes a recessed portion that is approximately circular in shape, but alternate shapes, for example, elliptical, oval, rectangle, triangle, or other polygonal shapes are contemplated. The inner panel 110 can have no shape at all, resulting in a panel that appears rectangular or square in shape.

As depicted in FIG. 4, the joining wall 128 is adjacent to the inner joining edge 114 and surrounds the indented grip region 108 on a side opposite to the side where the panel edge 112 meets the grip region 108. The inner panel edge 112 joins one side of the grip region 108 to the container sidewall 104, and the inner panel edge 112 runs in a vertical direction. (See FIG. 1.) The inner panel edge 112 is also in close alignment with a corner of the base 102. The inner panel edge 112 meets the inner ceiling edge 116, and extends vertically downward towards the base 102. In the embodiment pictured in FIG. 1, the inner panel edge 112 extends vertically along and to the bottom of the grip region 108. In other embodiments, the inner panel edge 112 can extend just to the bottom of the inner panel 110, or all the way to the base 102.

As best seen in FIG. 3, above the inner panel 110 is ceiling 120, which is joined to the inner panel 110 by an inner ceiling edge 116. In the illustrated embodiment, the ceiling 120 is in a plane that is substantially perpendicular to the plane of the indented grip region 108, and substantially parallel to the plane of the base 102. The ceiling 120 and the inner ceiling edge 116 are indented relative to the periphery of the base, and the ceiling 120 extends to an outer ceiling edge 126 that joins the ceiling 120 at the sidewall 104. The outer ceiling edge 126 is substantially in alignment with the edge of the base where the base 102 meets the sidewall, and thus the outer ceiling edge 126 is not indented relative to the periphery of the base. Of course, other embodiments can exist where the outer ceiling edge remains indented relative to the periphery of the base 102.

As pictured in FIG. 4, on the side of the indented grip region 108 opposite to the inner panel edge 112 is the inner joining edge 114, which connects the inner panel 110 to the joining wall 128. The joining wall 128 runs vertically from the ceiling 120 then curves around the transition panel 118, and the joining wall 128 is in a plane substantially perpendicular to the inner panel 110. The joining wall 128 extends horizontally from the inner joining edge 114 towards an outer joining edge 130, where the joining wall 128 meets the container sidewall 104. In the illustrated embodiment, the outer joining edge 130 is not indented relative to the outer periphery of the base.

The outer joining edge 130 meets the outer ceiling edge 126 at a chamfered corner 122. The outer joining edge 130 constitutes the outer periphery of one side of the grip region which continues around the joining wall and down along the container sidewall 104 towards the base 102. The resulting structure of the outer joining edge 130 is an arc-shaped curve that is the outer periphery of one side the indented grip region 108. This curve resembles the outer curve of the human ear, down through the earlobe. The outer joining edge meets the sidewall 104 proximal base 102 at the end or bottom of the curved joining edge 130.

The transition panel 118 of the indented grip region, is a sloped region that is located below the inner panel 110. The transition panel 118 is surrounded by the joining wall 128 on one side, and merges with the sidewall 104 near the base 102. The transition panel 118 is below the indented grip region 108, and in the illustrated embodiment no edge separates the transition panel 118 from the inner panel 110. There is also no edge separating the transition panel 118 from the container sidewall 104. Instead, the transition panel 118 provides a smooth transition that slopes gently from the inner panel 110 to the sidewall 104.

The transition panel 118 slopes gently from the from the inner panel 110 towards the base 102, providing a transition from the inner panel 110 to the sidewall 104 near the base 102. The angle formed by the inner panel 110 and transition panel 118 has a slope θ (shown in FIG. 5). The slope can be, for instance, 120 or more, 130, or 135 or more. For example, the slope can be in the range of 120-160, 130-150, or 135-146. In FIG. 5, θ is approximately 135.

The present invention is further directed to a container having the grip region described above. FIGS. 6-9 illustrate a container 200 embodying the inventive grip region 108. Features of the container and grip region correspond to those depicted in FIGS. 1-5, except that the reference numbers are labeled in a 200 series. Although the Figures illustrate a grip region in a rectangular container, the present invention can be readily adapted by persons of skill in the art for use in a container having round, oval, or other cross-sectional shapes.

As in the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 6, the grip region can include a dart feature 236. The dart feature can be situated below the inner panel 210 and above the transition panel 218, or in the region where the inner panel 210 adjoins the transition wall 218. The dart 236 can be, for example, a thin, raised, substantially horizontal strip that extends between the inner transition edge 214 and the inner panel edge 212. In the illustrated figure, the dart 236 is curved on one end and narrows to a point on the other end. However the dart 136 can any suitable shape such as a uniform strip, an elongated oval, or it can be a series of smaller darts. The dart 236 can be a variety of shapes such as teardrop, rectangular, or circular. Instead of, or in addition to the dart 236, the grip portion 108 can have ribs such as vertical or accordion ribs (not pictured). The dart 236, or ribs, can assist a user in holding the container 200.

The present container possesses many advantages over the prior art. One feature of the container is that it does not require a handle. The ability to manufacture a larger size bottle, such as a bottle having a wide bottom with a tapered top, without a handle, provides several advantages. First, integral handle manufacture requires the use of additional plastic and generally is a more complex manufacturing process. Handled bottles must usually be extrusion blow molded, as the formation of the handle during the molding process precludes manufacture by stretch blow molding. Thus the present invention is advantageous over the prior art in that it can be manufactured by stretch blow molding.

Another advantage of the present invention is that the grip region is designed to facilitate the stretch blow molding process of a container having the grip region. This is due to the gradual sloping of the transition panel as it approaches the container base. The absence of a sharp ridge or crease in the region below the inner panel towards the bottom of the container facilitates flow of hot plastic through the transition panel to the lower portion of a container embodying the grip region. Thus, the efficiency of manufacture of such a container is increased. An additional advantage is that the gradual sloping of the transition wall allows positioning of the grip region closer to the bottom of the container, without hindering the flow of hot plastic to the base during the blow-molding process. Having the grip region at a lower portion of the container in provides improved control and greater comfort during handling, especially as the container contents are reduced. Again, this is due to the lack of a crease in the region between the inner panel and the bottom of the container.

The elimination of a handle and the existence of the grip portion allows for greater stability during, for example, lifting and pouring contents. This is particularly true with containers that require relatively deep recesses in order to form a grip. More specifically, in large containers, the opposing inner panels must be recessed further into the container in order for the panels to be close enough together to facilitate holding with one hand. The existence of a transition wall and the absence of a crease in the region between the inner panel and the bottom of the container allows for a narrower grip region, meaning that the distance between the two indented grip regions can be reduced without creating any challenges during manufacture. These advantages can be realized with a grip region according to the present invention.

The embodiments illustrated and discussed in this specification are intended only to teach those skilled in the art the best way known to the inventors to make and use the invention. Nothing in this specification should be considered as limiting the scope of the present invention. All examples presented are representative and non-limiting. The above-described embodiments of the invention may be modified or varied, without departing from the invention, as appreciated by those skilled in the art in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that, within the scope of the claims and their equivalents, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8313005 *Aug 3, 2006Nov 20, 2012Kraft Foods Global Brands, LlcPlastic coffee container with pinch grip
US20110132865 *Dec 3, 2009Jun 9, 2011Graham Packaging Company, Lp.Pressure resistant medallions for a plastic container
US20110174829 *Feb 1, 2010Jul 21, 2011Graham Packaging Company, L.P.Container for storing motor vehicle fluid
US20120267381 *Apr 23, 2012Oct 25, 2012Graham Packaging Company, L.P.Container
Classifications
U.S. Classification215/384
International ClassificationB65D90/02
Cooperative ClassificationB65D1/0223, B65D23/102, B65D1/42
European ClassificationB65D23/10B, B65D1/02D, B65D1/42
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 18, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: GRAHAM PACKAGING COMPANY, L.P., PENNSYLVANIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:NOLL, ANGIE;HALEY, TIM;REEL/FRAME:017028/0229
Effective date: 20040814