|Publication number||US20070045317 A1|
|Application number||US 11/511,837|
|Publication date||Mar 1, 2007|
|Filing date||Aug 29, 2006|
|Priority date||Aug 31, 2005|
|Also published as||CA2558048A1|
|Publication number||11511837, 511837, US 2007/0045317 A1, US 2007/045317 A1, US 20070045317 A1, US 20070045317A1, US 2007045317 A1, US 2007045317A1, US-A1-20070045317, US-A1-2007045317, US2007/0045317A1, US2007/045317A1, US20070045317 A1, US20070045317A1, US2007045317 A1, US2007045317A1|
|Inventors||Adam Rosender, Christopher Meier|
|Original Assignee||Rosender Adam K, Meier Christopher J|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (36), Classifications (25), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates in general to plastic containers and, more particularly, to improving the tamper evidence of plastic containers having a resealable lid or cover.
Resealable plastic containers are well known in the art. See, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,339,973, to Edwards et al, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,413,239, to Rider, Jr. These containers are most typically used for packaging perishable items (e.g., foods) and other items being packaged on a small scale and/or close to the point of sale (e.g., a grocery store). Containers may be two-piece with a bottom tray and a top tray or lid, or may be one-piece with a hinge connecting the tray and lid. Transparent plastics such as PET or PLA are commonly used, and the containers are typically made by thermoforming in a mold.
Because of the possibility of tampering with the contents of plastic trays of this type, they are typically not used for packaging food or similar items by large scale manufacturers because the items pass through many hands in the distribution chain and the potential for tampering is greater. Thus, it would be desirable to improve the tamper evidence of resealable plastic containers.
Consumer appeal of resealable plastic containers comes both from the high level of freshness maintained, the convenience of resealability, and the ability to visually inspect the contents without opening. Any attempts to increase tamper evidence of the container should not compromise these other desirable properties. Moreover, it is desirable to provide a container that can be used by the packager without requiring special equipment.
A preferred embodiment of the invention employs a single-piece thermoformed tray consisting of a bottom portion and a top portion joined by a hinge, incorporating one or more sets (pairs) of male and female locking mechanisms joining the top and bottom portions at one or more mating tabs at the opposite side of the tray from the hinge. A perforation line is disposed in the top and/or bottom portions (e.g., in a mating tab) between a locking mechanism and the main body of the tray to allow one-time tamper evidence when access is gained to the interior of the tray.
The shape, size, type, and number of locking mechanisms vary to accommodate different usages of the container. Locking features can be created in the container during initial formation or incorporated at a later stage. Locking mechanisms are located to the outside of the perforation lines. One preferred locking mechanism uses male/female mating parts that interlock and prevent removal once inserted. Alternatively, a machine closing operation can be used such as heat staking.
The length, shape, pattern, gate size, orientation, and number of gates of each perforation line vary to accommodate different tray dimensions, volumes, degree of tamper evidence, and ease of separation. A perforation line is provided between each lock and the container seal. The number of paired perforations/locking mechanisms may vary according to tray dimensions, volumes, or degree of tamper evidence desired.
In one aspect of the invention, a container is provided comprising a tray body having a top lid portion and a bottom portion. The top lid portion and bottom portion form a re-closable seal around their periphery. A top tab extends from the top lid portion. A bottom tab extends from the bottom portion. A locking mechanism is formed in the top and bottom tabs for substantially permanent engagement. A perforation line in at least one of the top and bottom tabs isolates the locking mechanism, whereby the perforation line must be broken when gaining access inside the tray body.
A general description of performance of the tray is as follows. In order to seal and protect the tray contents, the container is closed to engage the peripheral re-closable seal between the top and bottom portions. Likewise, the male (e.g., top) and female (e.g., bottom) locks are snapped together. Lock engagement is permanent, such that the male part cannot be removed from the female part without either destroying them or altering them so that they cannot re-lock. Once the locks are closed, any force applied to open the container will partially or completely break one or more perforation lines, thus providing clear tamper evidence.
The perforations must be broken to access the contents of the container. The perforation lines can be separated by simply pulling the cover away from the base or by bending and then ripping along the perforation lines, for example. In order to ease the task of separating the locks and/or breaking the perforation lines, one or more flaps may be provided. The flaps may also assist in opening the re-closable seal of the tray during subsequent use.
A perforation line comprises a series of aligned cuts (i.e., gates) or indentations into or through the surface of a tab or flap that goes between two edges of the tab or flap so that a locking mechanism is completely isolated. The perforation line can also comprise a continuous indentation or other weakening of the tab or flap, or may comprise a series of cuts completely through the tab with the intervening areas being partially cut or indented. When using a series of discontinuous cuts or indentations, the number of gates may be between 5 and 11 per inch. The linear length of each gate may be between about 0.10 and 0.25 inches. In one preferred embodiment, a perforation line comprises 7 gates, each gate being 0.167 inches long. The shape of a perforation line may be other than straight in order to better show evidence of tampering.
Instead of being joined by a hinge, the top cover and base could alternatively comprise two separate pieces. Locking mechanisms and corresponding perforation lines would be placed around the periphery of the tray at a sufficiently close spacing to prevent entry into the tray without breaking a perforation line (e.g., locking mechanisms at four corners of the tray).
Turning now to the drawings,
A top tab 21 extends from lid portion 12 and includes an isolated section 22 separated from lid portion 12 by a perforation line 23. Isolated section 22 has a male lock part 24 extending in the direction of bottom tray portion 11. A bottom tab 25 extends from bottom tray portion 11 and has a female lock part 26 for lockingly receiving male lock part 24. Male lock part 24 may have a generally figure-8 shaped profile with crosscuts and/or lateral indentations which allow male lock part to compress during insertion into female lock part 26 and subsequently expand after insertion. Female lock part 26 may include a narrowed upper neck that acts to compress male lock part 24 during insertion and then block any removal of male lock part 24. Other configurations for interlocking parts will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art. Moreover, the invention also encompasses locating a male lock part on the bottom tab and a female lock part on the top tab.
Top tab 21 includes a grasping section 27 to facilitate opening of container 10. Section 27 may preferably be scored with a legend such as “LIFT” or other instruction to the user so that it will be apparent that the container can be opened by pulling apart bottom tab 25 and grasping section 27. As these are separated, isolated section 22 tears away from top tab 21 along perforation line 23. Isolated section 22 remains locked with bottom tab 25. After tearing, top tab 21 exhibits a roughened edge 28 which is distinguishable after re-closing container 10, thereby making evident any tampering. A decorative rib 29 may be provided on grasping section 27 to provide a fill-in between different sections of guard rib 18 and/or to facilitate grasping by a user.
Many useful configurations of the locking parts and the perforation line can be used in the present invention. Some such configurations are shown in
As shown in
Top tab 66 includes cut-outs 73 and 74 providing lead-ins to perforation line 68. Cut-out 73 is located between isolated section 67 and a grasping section 75 to facilitate opening of container 60. A grasping section 76 on bottom tab 71 coincides with cut-out 73 so that grasping sections 75 and 76 can be grasped with different hands and easily separated in a manner that tears perforation line 68 to open container 60. Another grasping section 77 may be provided in top tab 66 by making a cut-out 78 in bottom tab 71 so that it is possible with smaller containers to break perforation lines at both corners of the container simultaneously.
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7694845 *||Dec 22, 2005||Apr 13, 2010||Kraft Foods Global Brands Llc||Removable and reclosable lid for jar for a food product|
|US7967167||Mar 8, 2010||Jun 28, 2011||Kraft Foods Global Brands Llc||Removable and reclosable lid for jar for a food product|
|US8074830||Mar 4, 2010||Dec 13, 2011||Maple Leaf Foods Inc.||Reclosable container and closure therefor|
|US8083089 *||Sep 20, 2005||Dec 27, 2011||Pwp Industries Inc.||Versatile tamper-evident food container|
|US8186531||Aug 26, 2009||May 29, 2012||Par-Pak Ltd.||Tamper-evident container|
|US8245875||Jun 24, 2010||Aug 21, 2012||Sussex Im, Inc.||Container having a pre-curved lid|
|US8322555||Oct 14, 2008||Dec 4, 2012||Pwp Industries, Inc.||Resealable tamper-evident container assembly and lid|
|US8371468||Aug 17, 2009||Feb 12, 2013||Inline Plastics Corp.||Tamper evident containers|
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|US8511500||Jun 7, 2010||Aug 20, 2013||Sands Innovations Pty. Ltd.||Dispensing container|
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|US8657138||Sep 21, 2011||Feb 25, 2014||Sussex Im, Inc.||Container having a pre-curved lid|
|US8684212 *||Jul 10, 2012||Apr 1, 2014||Joseph Stone||Tamper-evident container that indicates when the container has been tampered with or opened|
|US8701919||Jul 13, 2011||Apr 22, 2014||Cascades Canada Ulc||Plastic container|
|US8714394 *||Jan 30, 2012||May 6, 2014||Emsa Gmbh||Storage container having locking lid|
|US8757416||Jan 8, 2009||Jun 24, 2014||D&W Fine Pack Llc||Tamper evident container|
|US8789695 *||Oct 14, 2011||Jul 29, 2014||Medicart International Limited||Container for medical accessory processing|
|US8939287 *||Jul 14, 2011||Jan 27, 2015||Inov8 Medical Solutions Limited||Storage device|
|US8939307||Jul 30, 2013||Jan 27, 2015||Dart Container Corporation||Tamper evident container|
|US8985386||Jan 3, 2014||Mar 24, 2015||Sussex Im, Inc.||Container having a pre-curved lid|
|US20100072217 *||Mar 25, 2010||Par-Pak Ltd.||Tamper evident container with frangible closure member|
|US20110000929 *||Jun 25, 2010||Jan 6, 2011||Packaging 2.0 Inc.||Thermoformed container having a tamper evident closure|
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|US20120292322 *||Nov 22, 2012||Display Pack, Inc.||Tamper-evident tab arrangement for thermoformed package|
|US20130020325 *||Jan 24, 2013||Joseph Stone||Tamper-evident container|
|US20130068654 *||Oct 14, 2011||Mar 21, 2013||Amhil Enterprises||Container with tamper-evident locking means|
|US20130220855 *||Jul 14, 2011||Aug 29, 2013||Inov8 Medical Solutions Limited||Storage device|
|US20130233746 *||Oct 14, 2011||Sep 12, 2013||Medicart International Limited||Container for medical accessory processing|
|US20130306636 *||Jan 30, 2012||Nov 21, 2013||Emsa Gmbh||Storage container set|
|US20140284346 *||Mar 21, 2013||Sep 25, 2014||Placon Corporation||Tamper Resistant Container|
|US20150069064 *||Sep 12, 2013||Mar 12, 2015||Sophie J. Johnson||One-Piece Food Container having an Integral Hinge with Latching Mechanisms and a Full Perimeter Seal|
|EP2030908A1 *||Aug 29, 2008||Mar 4, 2009||Plus Pack A/S||Tamper evident container|
|WO2008156921A1 *||Apr 30, 2008||Dec 24, 2008||Kyle Kerry M||Tamper-evident seal for a container|
|WO2010065980A1 *||Dec 9, 2008||Jun 17, 2010||Sands Innovations Pty Ltd||A dispensing container|
|WO2014152615A2 *||Mar 14, 2014||Sep 25, 2014||Sabert Corporation||Tamper-evident containers|
|U.S. Classification||220/266, 220/793, 220/839, 220/4.23|
|International Classification||B65D41/18, B65D41/32, B65D43/14, B65D6/28|
|Cooperative Classification||B65D2543/0062, B65D43/0249, B65D2543/00685, B65D43/0254, B65D2543/00537, B65D43/162, B65D2543/00796, B65D2543/00509, B65D2543/00731, B65D2543/00555, B65D2543/00842, B65D2101/0023, B65D2543/00296, B65D2543/00101|
|European Classification||B65D43/02T3D, B65D43/16B, B65D43/02T3B|
|Aug 29, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: BARS INNOVATIONS, INC., MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ROSENDER, ADAM K.;MEIER, CHRISTOPHER J.;REEL/FRAME:018240/0949;SIGNING DATES FROM 20060824 TO 20060825