US 20070110343 A1
A reclosable polymeric package having a zipper closure at its mouth and a venting feature that allows air or other fluid to be vented from the package interior when the zipper closure is sealed. In one example, the venting feature includes vents covered by a tape intermittently secured to the package to define fluid passageways. Methods of use are provided.
1. A polymeric package, comprising:
(a) a surrounding wall having a bottom edge, together forming an interior;
(b) a first zipper profile member and a second zipper profile member on the surrounding wall opposite the bottom edge; and
(c) a venting feature on the surrounding wall, the venting feature comprising vents within the surrounding wall to provide fluid communication between the interior and a region exterior of the package, and a tape overlying the vents.
2. The package of
3. The package of
4. The package of
5. The package of
6. The package of
7. The package of
8. The package of
9. The package of
10. The package of
11. The package of
12. A method of using a package, comprising:
(a) providing a package having an interior, a resealable zipper extending across a mouth of the package and a venting feature including vents and a tape covering the vents;
(b) placing an item in the interior through the mouth of the package;
(c) closing the resealable zipper after the item is in the interior; and
(d) expelling air from the interior through the venting feature.
13. The method of
14. The method of
15. The method of
16. The method of
17. The method of
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/735,780, filed on Nov. 12, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
This disclosure relates to polymeric packages, and, in particular, to packages having a resealable closure arrangement and a venting feature, and methods of manufacturing and using the packages.
Flexible polymeric packages may be used to hold a variety of products. Examples of such products include a variety of edible food products such as cheese, meat, crackers, granular sugar, powdered sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda, and non-food products such as laundry detergent, sand, medical supplies, and other products. Resealable packages are convenient because they can be closed and resealed after opening to contain the enclosed contents. Resealable packages are also advantageous in that they extend the life of food products because they can be opened and closed (resealed) multiple times. Resealable polymeric packages are used in environments that include the refrigerator, freezer, and at room conditions.
The present disclosure is directed to reclosable packages having a zipper closure. The packages include a venting feature that allows flow of fluid, such as air, form the interior of the packages to the outside environment. In use, the venting feature is used to evacuate air from the interior of the packages, without the need to open the zipper closure.
In one particular aspect, the disclosure is to a polymeric package that has a surrounding wall and a bottom edge, which together form an interior for receiving items therein. A first zipper profile member and a second zipper profile member are present on the surrounding wall opposite the bottom edge. Access can be gained to the interior through the mouth that is defined between the zipper profile members. The package includes a venting feature on the surrounding wall, the venting feature comprising a plurality of vents within the surrounding wall to provide fluid communication between the interior and the exterior of the package, and a tape overlying the vents. The tape may be attached to the surrounding wall along longitudinal edges of the tape, and/or may be attached intermittently at attachment regions. Together, the tape and the surrounding wall define a plurality of passages that provide fluid communication between the package interior and the exterior of the package. The passages allow fluid from the package interior to flow to the exterior of the package, and vice versa.
Various methods for using the package, and of making the package, are also described.
These and various other features which characterize the packages of this disclosure are pointed out with particularity in the attached claims. For a better understanding of the packages of the disclosure, their advantages, their use and objectives obtained by their use, reference should be made to the drawings and to the accompanying description, in which there is illustrated and described preferred embodiments of the invention of this disclosure.
The present invention is directed to a variety of resealable polymeric packaging arrangements, methods of making the packages and methods of using the packages.
Referring now to the figures, a package according to the present disclosure is illustrated in
Side panels 12, 14 and side edges 15, 16, 18 define a surrounding wall 11 having an interior 20 therebetween. Interior 20 is configured for receiving item(s), for example a food item, for storage within package 10.
As provided above, side panels 12, 14 meet at bottom edge 15 and side edges 16, 18. Any or all of edges 15, 16, 18 may be seals or may be folds. In the embodiment illustrated in
Additionally, other configurations of surrounding wall 11 could be used. For example, surrounding wall 11 may include side gussets or gussets in panels 12, 14 to provide increased volume to interior 20. Also for example, surrounding wall 11 may have no discernible side panels 12, 14, but rather, could be a tubular bag-shaped element. Various other configurations of surrounding walls 11 are known and are suitable for packages in accordance with the principles of this disclosure.
In the embodiment illustrated, first zipper profile 52 is connected to first side panel 12 and second zipper profile 54 is connected to second side panel 14. Zipper profiles 52, 54 could be integral with their respective side panel 12, 14 or could be attached thereto, for example, by a heat seal or adhesive. Zippers 50, profiles 52, 54 and profile members 56, 58 are well known in the art; see for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,524,002; 6,152,600; 5,839,831, and 5,252,281, each of which is incorporated herein by reference.
Although not illustrated in the figures, zipper closure 50 may be opened and closed by a slider element, as is well known; see for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,679,027; Des. 480,988; Des. 479,467, and 6,450,686, each of which is incorporated herein by reference, for examples of suitable slider elements.
Still referring to
In the illustrated embodiment, venting feature 30 includes a venting tape 35 positioned over an area 13 of side panel 14 having fluid passageways or vents 100 therethrough. To facilitate understanding of venting feature 30,
Vents 100 in area 13 may be any suitable shape or size, although the vents will generally be less than about 5 mm in their largest dimension, often less than about 3 mm. Three alternate configurations for vents 100 are illustrated in
Venting feature 30 allows fluid, e.g., air, to be expelled from interior 20 while zipper closure 50 is sealed. The combination of vents 100 in surrounding wall 11, (e.g., in side panel 14) and venting tape 35, particularly passages 40, control the rate of fluid flow from interior 20. It is understood that the flow through vents 100 and passages 40 can be modified by altering the characteristic, e.g., the dimensions, shaped, spacing, etc. of vents 100 and/or passages 40.
In the illustrated embodiment, venting tape 35 is positioned on an exterior surface of side panel 14; it is understood that venting tape 35 could alternately be positioned on the interior surface of area 13. It is believed that when venting tape 35 is positioned on the exterior of side panel 14, air can easily pass out via venting feature 30 when pressure is applied, but air movement into interior 20 is difficult, which reduces the ingress of contaminants from outside of package 10. It is also believed that when venting tape 35 is positioned on the exterior of side panel 14, air can easily pass out from interior 20 via venting feature 30 when pressure is applied, but the flow of liquid is restricted.
Various specific details of package 10 have been described. It is understood, however, that the previous descriptions are not limiting to features of package 10, and alternate materials, constructions, and the like could be used to provide a package according to the present invention. For example, package 10 could optionally include a sealant stripe, such as a peal seal, which can be sealed, readily opened, and resealed, on an interior surface of surrounding wall 11, such as panels 12, 14, in close proximity to zipper closure 50. Examples of peal seals include those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,290,393; 6,210,038, and 6,131, 248, each of which is incorporated herein by reference. Such a seal could be used to decrease the possibility of leakage through the mouth of package 10. Additionally or alternately, package 10 could include a textured stand-off area in surrounding wall 11, such as in one or both of panel 12, 14. Such a textured stand-off area is particularly suitable for packages 10 that are configured for use in the freezer, e.g., temperatures below about 20° F.
After positioning item 150 in package 10, it is optional to push or otherwise urge air present in package 10 out via unsealed zipper 50. Zipper 50 is sealed, providing a seal across package 10. When pressure is applied to package 10 in an area, such as area 25 between bottom edge 15 and zipper 50, for example by the application of manual pressure by a user 170, at least some of the air remaining in interior 20 of package 10 is pushed through venting feature 30 and out from interior 20 of package 10. In particular, air passes through vents 100 and then through passages 40.
Package 10 may be made by generally any suitable process. For example, package 10 may be made by a horizontal process (e.g., where the film forming side surrounding wall 11 moves in a generally horizontal direction) or a vertical process (e.g., where the film forming surrounding wall 11 moves in a generally vertical direction). Vents 100 will generally be present in surrounding wall 11 (e.g., one or both of side panels 12, 14) at the beginning of the process. Venting tape 35 will typically be applied over vents 100 prior to forming edges 15, 16, 18, and may be present at the beginning of the package-making process. As mentioned above, any or all of edges 15, 16, 18 may be folds or seals between side panels 12, 14. If not integral with side panels 12, 14, zipper profiles 52, 54 may be attached to side panels 12, 14 before or after bottom edge 15 is formed. Similarly, a slider device (if present) may be applied to zipper profiles 52, 54 before or after incorporation with side panels 12, 14.
The above specification and examples are believed to provide a complete description of the manufacture and use of particular embodiments of the invention. Because many embodiments of the invention can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, the true scope and spirit of the invention reside in the broad meaning of the claims hereinafter appended.