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Publication numberUS20070289892 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/425,026
Publication dateDec 20, 2007
Filing dateJun 19, 2006
Priority dateJun 19, 2006
Publication number11425026, 425026, US 2007/0289892 A1, US 2007/289892 A1, US 20070289892 A1, US 20070289892A1, US 2007289892 A1, US 2007289892A1, US-A1-20070289892, US-A1-2007289892, US2007/0289892A1, US2007/289892A1, US20070289892 A1, US20070289892A1, US2007289892 A1, US2007289892A1
InventorsDan Hogerty
Original AssigneeDan Hogerty
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Nested container
US 20070289892 A1
Abstract
The present invention provides a nestable container that includes a sidewall having a substantially cylindrical shape, a ring portion adapted to engage the upper opening of the sidewall, and a bottom portion adapted to engage a bottom opening of the sidewall. The diameter of the upper opening of the sidewall is greater than the diameter of the lower opening of the sidewall such that the sidewall of the container is tapered. Also provided is a lid adapted to removably engage the ring portion.
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Claims(14)
1. A nestable container comprising:
a sidewall portion, said sidewall portion having a substantially cylindrical shape and defining an upper opening and lower opening thereof, said sidewall portions having a plurality of corrugations therein;
a ring portion adapted to removably engage said upper opening of said sidewall portion along a perimeter thereof; and
a bottom portion adapted to fixedly engage a lower opening of said sidewall portion along a perimeter thereof,
wherein a diameter of said upper opening of said sidewall portion is greater than a diameter of said lower opening of said sidewall portion.
2. The container according to claim 1 further comprising a lid portion removably attached to said ring portion.
3. The container according to claim 1 wherein said sidewall portion comprises a layer of a polymer capable of being heat sealed along at least a portion of an outer surface thereof.
4. The container according to claim 3 wherein said polymer is selected from the group consisting of polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, ionomer resin, polyamide, polypropylene, polycarbonate, polystyrene, and combinations thereof.
5. The container according to claim 1 wherein said sidewall portion comprises a chemical release coating along at least a portion of an inner surface thereof.
6. The container according to claim 1 wherein said bottom portion comprises a layer of a polymer capable of being heat sealed along at least a portion of an outer surface thereof.
7. The container according to claim 6 wherein said polymer is selected from the group consisting of polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, ionomer resin, polyamide, polypropylene, polycarbonate, polystyrene, and combinations thereof.
8. A nestable container comprising:
a tapered sidewall portion, said sidewall portion having a substantially cylindrical shape and defining an upper opening and lower opening thereof, said sidewall portions having a plurality of corrugations therein;
a ring portion adapted to removably engage said upper opening of said sidewall portion along a perimeter thereof; and
a bottom portion adapted to fixedly engage a lower opening of said sidewall portion along a perimeter thereof,
wherein the volume of said container is described by the following equation:
V = π ( d + ( d - h tan θ 2 2 ) h
9. The container according to claim 8 further comprising a lid portion removably attached to said ring portion.
10. The container according to claim 8 wherein said sidewall portion comprises a layer of a polymer capable of being heat sealed along at least a portion of an outer surface thereof.
11. The container according to claim 10 wherein said polymer is selected from the group consisting of polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, ionomer resin, polyamide, polypropylene, polycarbonate, polystyrene, and combinations thereof.
12. The container according to claim 8 wherein said sidewall portion comprises a chemical release coating along at least a portion of an inner surface thereof.
13. The container according to claim 8 wherein said bottom portion comprises a layer of a polymer capable of being heat sealed along at least a portion of an outer surface thereof.
14. The container according to claim 13 wherein said polymer is selected from the group consisting of polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, ionomer resin, polyamide, polypropylene, polycarbonate, polystyrene, and combinations thereof.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable.

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE OF MATERIAL SUBMITTED ON A COMPACT DISC

Not Applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed generally to a tapered container and, specifically, to a tapered container capable of being nested or collapsed during shipment or storage.

Containers are ubiquitous across various industries, for example food or dairy products such as ice cream, with a variety of styles, shapes, and volumes being used depending on the needs of a particular industry or entity. Often, containers are made or formed at one location and then shipped to another location where they are filled with the desired product. One problem with this method of providing containers is the fact that each container occupies a given space, such that during shipment of containers one is actually shipping a relatively small amount of material (the container itself), and a large volume of air (the empty space inside of the container). This leads to excessive shipping costs associated with the transport of such containers.

One solution to this problem has been to construct containers with tapered sidewalls such that the containers “nest” during shipment. Thus, a greater number of containers can be shipped in the same amount of space as that occupied by non-nesting containers. There are, however, problems with this approach. Nested containers are more difficult to produce that non-nested containers, and engineering considerations such as maintaining a uniform sidewall must be taken into consideration.

A second solution to the problem is for a company or other entity to produce the desired container on-site rather than have containers delivered to them from a supplier. This solution, however, requires expensive machinery to be located on-site for container construction and is not a viable option for small business or businesses with limited space.

In addition to the above, typical prior art containers such as, for example, three-gallon ice cream containers, include metal ring portions along a top opening thereof. These metal rings may have sharp edges that may be exposed during assembly of the container, representing a potential hazard to the person doing the assembling or handling the container while in use. Further, the presence of the metal ring can interfere with modern x-ray inspection techniques that may be applied to food products in a given industry. Elimination of the ring entirely is not an option, however, as the ring provides required support and stability to transport relatively heavy items, such as ice cream, in the container.

The present invention provides a nested container that is also collapsible, allowing efficient shipment of the container and easy use of the container by a user thereof. The present invention further provides a container having a non-metal ring portion to reinforce the container.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a nestable container that includes a sidewall having a substantially cylindrical shape, a ring portion adapted to engage the upper opening of the sidewall, and a bottom portion adapted to engage a bottom opening of the sidewall. The diameter of the upper opening of the sidewall is greater than the diameter of the lower opening of the sidewall such that the sidewall of the container is tapered. Also provided is a lid adapted to removably engage the ring portion.

It is preferred that the outer surface of the sidewall have a polymer coating, such as, for example, a polyethylene coating, and that a surface of the bottom portion have the same coating. Thus, the bottom portion can be heat sealed to the sidewall portion.

It is also preferred that the sidewall portion have corrugations allowing the tapered sidewall to be more easily formed and allowing for flat shipment of the present container.

In another preferred embodiment of the present invention, the sidewall portion includes a chemical release coating along an inner surface thereof.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a prior art container.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a container constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is an elevational view of two nested containers constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of a container constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is an elevational view of two stacked containers constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The description provided below applies the teachings of the present invention to a typical three gallon ice cream container found in the art. While an ice cream container is described below and illustrated in the figures, it is contemplated that the principles of the present invention, as described herein, can be applied to numerous types, styles, shapes, and volumes of container.

Referring now to the drawings, wherein like numerals represent like parts, the numeral 10 refers generally to a prior art ice cream container, whereas the numeral 20 refers generally to an exemplary nested and collapsible ice cream container constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. The present container includes generally a sidewall portion 22, a bottom portion 24, a ring portion 26, and corrugations 28.

FIG. 1 shows a standard, smooth sidewall, non-nesting three gallon ice cream container 10. Container 10 includes a sidewall portion 12, a bottom portion 14, and a ring portion 16. Ring portion 16 is generally made of metal or plastic and serves to secure and support the container structure. The construction of such prior art containers is relatively simple due to the smooth sidewall. For example, a length of cardboard or other suitable material is provided and formed into a cylindrical shape open at both ends. This constitutes sidewall 12 of container 10. A bottom portion 14 is provided which may be secured to the sidewall by heat sealing, glue or other means. Heat sealing is described further below. In embodiments of the present invention in which glue is used, the glue may be provided along a surface of the container that meshes with the interior of sidewall 12, or may be placed along a lip of bottom 14 such that the lip is folded to mesh with an exterior wall of sidewall 12. Once the sidewall has been formed and the bottom secured in place, ring portion 16 may be secured to the top of the container, ring portion 16 having an annular groove adapted to receive the upper edge of sidewall 12. A lid (not shown) may also be provided, the lid snapping into place over ring 16 and forming a seal when used with container 10.

FIG. 2 shows an exemplary container 20 constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. Container 20 includes a sidewall portion 22, a bottom portion 24, and a ring portion 26. It is preferred that the ring portion 26 of the present container is substantially the same as the ring structure 16 used in prior art containers such as that shown in FIG. 1, but formed from plastic or similar non-metallic material. This allows for minimum retooling of a manufacturing facility in the move from prior art containers to the present invention, and also maintains certain dimensions of the container that may be important in the industry in terms of shipping, storing, marketing, use, and the like. Ring 26 includes an annular ring adapted to receive the upper edge of sidewall 22, thereby providing support for container 20.

Sidewall 22 of the present container is preferably constructed from cardboard, though any suitable material may be used. Scoring 28 in sidewall 22 allows container 20 to be easily assembled and also allows for container 20 to be collapsed during shipping or storage. Scoring 28 also prevent nested containers 20 from sticking together when two or more containers 20 are properly nested. It is contemplated that at least two scorings 28 are present in sidewall 22, each being substantially opposite the other. More than two scorings 28 may also be used. The height of sidewall 22, as well as the diameter thereof when assembled, may be varied according to the needs that the final container must meet. The angle at which the sidewall tapers (referred to herein as the draft angle of the container) may also vary according to the desired properties of the container. In a preferred embodiment of the present container, the draft angle is about 5 degrees. Determination of the dimensions of container 20 necessary to meet specific needs is described below.

Sidewall 22 preferably includes a polymer coating along at least a portion of an outer surface thereof, such that bottom portion 24 (described below) may be heat sealed thereto. It is preferred that the polymer coating is composed of polyethylene, though any suitable polymer may be used. Examples of other suitable polymers include, but are not limited to, polyvinyl chloride, ionomer resin, polyamides, polypropylene, polycarbonate, polystyrene, and combinations thereof. It is also preferred that sidewall 22 include a chemical release agent along an interior surface thereof.

Bottom portion 24 of container 20 is best seen in FIG. 4. If is preferred that bottom portion 24 be fixedly attached to container 20 by heat sealing, although any suitable method of attachment may be used. For example, during construction of container 20, bottom portion 24 may be attached to sidewall 22 of container 20 by application of glue to either lip portion 30 of bottom portion 24, or both lip portion 30 and annular wall 32 of bottom portion 24. Annular wall 32 mates with an interior surface of sidewall 22 and defines a diameter of the lower portion of sidewall 22. In the embodiments of the present invention wherein bottom portion 24 is heat sealed to sidewall 22, it is preferred that the portion of bottom portion 24 to be sealed to sidewall 22 is coated with a polymer, preferably polyethylene. Any suitable polymer may be used including, but not limited to, polyvinyl chloride, ionomer resin, polyamides, polypropylene, polycarbonate, polystyrene, and combinations thereof.

FIG. 3 provides a view of two containers 20 shown nested with one another. The two containers are identical as shown in the drawings, each having a sidewall 22, a ring portion 26, and corrugations 28. Both containers further include a bottom portion 24, though bottom portion 24 of the top container is not visible because it is contained within the bottom container.

FIG. 4 provides an exploded view of a container constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. In the figure, bottom portion 24 is more fully depicted than in the previous figures. Bottom portion 24 preferably has an annular wall 32 and a lip portion 30 that extends perpendicular to annular wall 32 and around a circumference of bottom portion 24. Annular wall 32 and lip portion 30 provide surfaces which may be heat sealed to sidewall 22 of container 20, or to which glue may be applied to secure bottom portion 24 to sidewall 22 when forming container 20.

FIG. 5 is an elevational view of two stacked containers 20 constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. Shown in the figure are two lid portions 34 adapted to snap into place over rings 26, which can't be seen due to the presence of lid portions 34. When lid portions 34 are in place, an airtight seal is created between lid portions 34 and rings 26, and the upper surface of lid portion 34 creates a surface upon which a second container 20 may be stacked. It is preferred that container 20 is dimensioned such that lid portion 34 adapted for use with prior art container 10 is also capable of being used with container 20. This allows for an interchangeability of parts between prior art containers and the present container.

A important feature of the present invention is the ability to adapt container 20 to a variety of volumes while maintaining a constant diameter of ring portion 26. Thus, where a diameter of ring portion 26, and therefore lid portion 34, has become standard in an industry, the present, new container 20 may be used without a need to change ring or lid diameters. This also allows for ease of storage of the present container and ensures that the same number of containers may be placed side by side in storage such as, for example, a refrigerated ice cream display at an ice cream retail outlet.

For a prior art container 10, the formula for determining volume is:


V=πr2h

where V is total volume, r is the radius of the container, and h is the height of the container.

Given the present container 20, the formula is altered to provide the following equation:

V = π ( d + ( d - h tan θ 2 2 ) h

where V is total volume, d is the inside diameter of the upper opening of the container, h is the height of the container, and θ is the draft angle of the container sidewall 22 (i.e. the angle between the upper opening of the container and the bottom opening of the container; the angle at which the sidewall 22 slopes). The equation provided allows a user of the present container 20 to easily determine a draft angle or height of the container necessary to achieve a desired volume while maintaining a constant diameter of an upper opening of the container (and of ring portion 16 and lid portion 34). It should be noted, however, that the equation above can be utilized to determine the dimension for nested containers having varying diameter upper openings or rings 16, and such containers are still contemplated to fall within the teachings of the present invention.

The detailed description set forth above is provided to aid those skilled in the art in practicing the present invention. The invention described and claimed herein, however, is not to be limited in scope by the specific embodiments disclosed because these embodiments are intended to be illustrative of several aspects of the invention. Any equivalent embodiments are intended to be within the scope of the present invention. Various modifications of the invention which do not depart from the spirit or scope of the present invention, in addition to those shown and described herein, will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the foregoing description. Such modifications are also intended to fall within the scope of the appended claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7811522 *Jul 5, 2007Oct 12, 2010Viaflo CorporationSample reservoir kits with disposable liners
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/515
International ClassificationB65D21/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65D21/0219, B65D21/0233, B65D11/20
European ClassificationB65D21/02F, B65D21/02E7A, B65D11/20
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 29, 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: D. THOMAS & ASSOCIATES, INC., MISSOURI
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:HOGERTY, DAN;REEL/FRAME:018186/0215
Effective date: 20060821