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Publication numberUS20080019619 A9
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/104,295
Publication dateJan 24, 2008
Filing dateApr 12, 2005
Priority dateApr 12, 2005
Also published asUS20060228055
Publication number104295, 11104295, US 2008/0019619 A9, US 2008/019619 A9, US 20080019619 A9, US 20080019619A9, US 2008019619 A9, US 2008019619A9, US-A9-20080019619, US-A9-2008019619, US2008/0019619A9, US2008/019619A9, US20080019619 A9, US20080019619A9, US2008019619 A9, US2008019619A9
InventorsClaude Eads, Bainer Garger, Thomas O'Connor
Original AssigneeEads Claude A, Garger Bainer M, O'connor Thomas P
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Tamper evident reclosable seals
US 20080019619 A9
Abstract
A container has a reclosable zipper seal. The zipper includes a slider that facilitates opening and closing of the zipper. The container also includes a tamper evidence device. The tamper evidence device provides an indication as to whether the container has been substantially opened. The tamper evidence device may be part of the container, the zipper, the slider, or combinations thereof. The tamper evidence device may include a membrane, spot seals, one or more seals of container walls, a seal of zipper profile walls, a tack, a drape, an adhesive, or deformed material resulting from formation of an opening formed through the slider and the zipper profiles. The tamper evidence device may require breakage the first time the container is opened. The tamper evidence device may provide an initial resistance to the first act of opening the container.
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Claims(21)
1. A container system, comprising:
(a) a container, comprising an opening defined by a first side wall and a second side wall, wherein the first side wall and the second side wall each have an inner surface and an outer surface;
(b) a zipper positioned at the container opening, the zipper comprising:
(i) a first profile having an inner surface, an outer surface, and one or more teeth adjacent the inner surface, and
(ii) a second profile having an inner surface, an outer surface, and one or more teeth adjacent the inner surface,
 wherein the zipper is operable to selectively open and close a seal of the container opening upon engagement between the one or more teeth of the first profile and the one or more teeth of the second profile; and
(c) a membrane secured to the inner surfaces of the first profile and the second profile, wherein the membrane and the first and second profiles are formed separately.
2. The container system of claim 1, wherein the outer surface of the first side of the container is secured to the inner surface of the first profile, wherein the outer surface of the second side of the container is secured to the inner surface of the second profile.
3. The container system of claim 1, wherein the membrane comprises a substantially transparent plastic material.
4. The container system of claim 1, wherein the first and second sides of the container are secured to the first and second profiles at respective container securing locations on the first and second profiles, wherein the membrane is secured to the first and second profiles at respective membrane securing locations on the first and second profiles.
5. The container system of claim 4, wherein each of the respective membrane securing locations is positioned between the one or more teeth and the container securing location of each of the first and second profiles.
6. The container system of claim 1, wherein the membrane comprises a substantially transparent plastic material. perforation.
7. The container system of claim 1, wherein the membrane is not resealable.
8. A container system, comprising:
(a) a container, comprising an opening defined by a first side wall and a second side wall, wherein the first side wall and the second side wall each have an inner surface and an outer surface;
(b) a zipper positioned at the container opening, the zipper comprising:
(i) a first profile having an inner surface, an outer surface, and one or more teeth adjacent the inner surface, and
(ii) a second profile having an inner surface, an outer surface, and one or more teeth adjacent the inner surface,
 wherein the zipper is operable to selectively open and close a seal of the container opening upon engagement between the one or more teeth of the first profile and the one or more teeth of the second profile; and
(c) one or more spot seals, wherein the one or more spot seals are positioned and configured to resist a first act of opening of the container, wherein the one or more spot seals are configured to have no substantial effect on subsequent acts of opening the container, wherein the one or more spot seals are breakable without compromising wall integrity, wherein the spot seals are non-resealable.
9. The container system of claim 8, wherein the spot seals secure the first profile to the second profile.
10. The container system of claim 8, wherein the spot seals comprise intermittent heat welds.
11. A container system, comprising:
(a) a container, comprising an opening defined by a first side wall and a second side wall, wherein the first side wall and the second side wall each have an inner surface and an outer surface;
(b) a zipper secured to the container, the zipper comprising:
(i) a first profile having an inner surface, an outer surface, one or more teeth adjacent the inner surface, and a flange region, and
(ii) a second profile having an inner surface, an outer surface, one or more teeth adjacent the inner surface, and a flange region,
 wherein the zipper is configured to provide a seal upon engagement between the teeth of the first profile and the teeth of the second profile, wherein the flange regions of the first and second profiles form a “W”-like configuration, the “W”-like configuration comprising an upturned portion of the first profile, a remainder portion of the first profile, a first valley defined by the upturned portion of the first profile and the remainder portion of the first profile, an upturned portion of the second profile, a remainder portion of the second profile, and a second valley defined by the upturned portion of the second profile and the remainder portion of the second profile, wherein the teeth of each profile are positioned on the remainder portion of each profile.
12. The container system of claim 11, wherein the first side of the container is secured to the upturned portion of the first profile, wherein the second side of the container is secured to the upturned portion of the second profile.
13. The container system of claim 11, further comprising an adhesive located in each of the first and second valleys.
14. The container system of claim 11, wherein the upturned portions of the first and second profile are each joined at a tack.
15. A container system, comprising:
(a) a container, comprising an opening defined by a first side wall and a second side wall, wherein the first side wall and the second side wall each have an inner surface and an outer surface;
(b) a zipper positioned in the container opening, the zipper comprising:
(i) a first profile having an inner surface, an outer surface, and one or more teeth adjacent the inner surface,
(ii) a second profile having an inner surface, an outer surface, and one or more teeth adjacent the inner surface, wherein the zipper is configured to provide a seal upon engagement between the one or more teeth of the first profile and the one or more teeth of the second profile, and
(iii) a slider, wherein the slider is configured to engage and disengage the teeth of the first and second profiles; and
(c) an opening formed in the first profile and the second profile, wherein the opening comprises deformed material, wherein the deformed material is configured to provide resistance to a first act of movement of the slider.
16. The container system of claim 15, wherein the opening is also formed in the slider.
17. The container system of claim 15, wherein the deformed material is deformed by an act of melting.
18. The container system of claim 17, wherein the act of melting is performed with a hot needle-like structure.
19. The container system of claim 15, wherein the deformed material is deformed by an act of pulling material of the zipper through the opening.
20. The container system of claim 19, wherein the act of pulling material of the zipper through the opening is performed with a hook-like structure.
21. A container system, comprising:
(a) a container, comprising an opening defined by a first side wall and a second side wall, wherein the first side wall and the second side wall each have an inner surface and an outer surface;
(b) a zipper positioned at the container opening, the zipper comprising:
(i) a first profile having an inner surface, an outer surface, and one or more teeth adjacent the inner surface, and
(ii) a second profile having an inner surface, an outer surface, and one or more teeth adjacent the inner surface,
 wherein the zipper is operable to selectively open and close a seal of the container opening upon engagement between the one or more teeth of the first profile and the one or more teeth of the second profile;
(c) a membrane secured to the inner surfaces of the first profile and the second profile, wherein the membrane and the first and second profiles are formed separately; and
(d) at least one seal, wherein the at least one seal is formed by securing a portion of the inner surface of the first side wall to a portion of the inner surface of the second side wall, wherein the seal is positioned proximate to the zipper.
Description
    BACKGROUND
  • [0001]
    Reclosable seals are used in a variety of applications, one example being for sealing the opening of a bag. A variety of reclosable seals currently exist, but no one prior to the inventors has created or used the invention described in the appended claims.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0002]
    While the specification concludes with claims that particularly point out and distinctly claim the invention, it is believed the present invention will be better understood from the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals identify the same elements. The drawings and detailed description which follow are intended to be merely illustrative and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.
  • [0003]
    FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of a bag having a reclosable seal.
  • [0004]
    FIG. 2 depicts a transverse cross-sectional view of a tamper evident reclosable seal.
  • [0005]
    FIG. 3 depicts perspective view of a bag having an alternative tamper evident reclosable seal.
  • [0006]
    FIG. 4 depicts a transverse cross-sectional view of an alternative tamper evident reclosable seal.
  • [0007]
    FIG. 5 depicts a transverse cross-sectional view of an alternative tamper evident reclosable seal.
  • [0008]
    FIG. 6 depicts a transverse cross-sectional view of the tamper evident reclosable seal of FIG. 5 after subsequent processing.
  • [0009]
    FIG. 7 depicts a transverse cross-sectional view of an alternative tamper evident reclosable seal.
  • [0010]
    FIG. 8 depicts a partial view of a slider and zipper profiles having a tamper evidence device.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0011]
    The following description should not be used to limit the scope of the present invention. Other examples, features, aspects, embodiments, and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from the following description, which includes by way of illustration, one of the best modes contemplated for carrying out the invention. As will be realized, the invention is capable of other different and obvious aspects, all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and descriptions should be regarded as illustrative in nature and not restrictive. It should therefore be understood that the inventors contemplate a variety of embodiments that are not explicitly disclosed herein.
  • [0012]
    FIG. 1 depicts a bag (30) having a reclosable seal in the form of a zipper (10). Bag (30) has a right side (32) and a left side (34). Similarly, zipper (10) has a right profile (12) and a left profile (14). Right profile (12) of zipper (10) is secured to right side (32) of bag (30), while left profile (14) of zipper (10) is secured to left side (34) of bag (30). As used herein, terms such as “right,” “left,” “above,” “below,” and the like are used simply to refer to the relative positioning of elements in the drawings, and are not intended to be limiting in any way. While the present example includes a bag (30), it will be appreciated that zipper (10) or any other reclosable seal may be used on any other type of container or receptacle, including but not limited to envelopes, pouches, sacks, and the like. As used herein, the terms “container” and “receptacle” shall be read to include anything configured to hold and contain an object or materials. To the extent that the container is a bag, it will be appreciated that any type of bag may be used, including but not limited to gusseted, non-gusseted, paper, plastic, multi-laminate, woven polypropylene bags, and the like. Other suitable containers will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.
  • [0013]
    It will be appreciated that profiles (12, 14) of zipper (10) may be secured to bag (30) in any suitable fashion. In one embodiment, profiles (12, 14) are secured to bag (30) by a pre-applied, heat-activated adhesive. Such adhesive may be activated by hot air, by hot rolling, or by any other suitable method. In another embodiment, profiles (12, 14) are secured to bag (30) by an epoxy bond. In this embodiment, a first compound is applied to each profile (12, 14) and a second compound is applied to the portions of bag (30) that will ultimately come into contact with profiles (12, 14). The first and second compounds are configured such that, when joined together, the compounds form a physical bond. Accordingly, a bond is formed when profiles (12, 14) are placed in contact with the aforementioned portions of bag (30), thereby securing profiles (12, 14) to bag (30). Alternatively, any other technique may be used to secure profiles (12, 14) to bag (30), including but not limited to heat-sealing, stitching, adhesives, press-sealing, cold welding, pressure bonding, double-sided tape. Where profiles (12, 14) are stitched to bag (30), it will be appreciated that such stitching may include, by way of example only, sewing or ultrasonic stitching. Still other suitable techniques for securing profiles (12, 14) to bag (30) will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.
  • [0014]
    In the present example, profiles (12, 14) comprise an extruded plastic material. Of course, profiles (12, 14) may be formed of any other suitable material, and by any other suitable process. Respective ends (18, 20) of profiles (12, 14) may be secured together by any suitable technique, including but not limited to a hot knife, hot glue, other adhesives, heat sealing, stitching, cold welding, pressure bonding, hooks, tape, clamps, rivets, or any other suitable technique or device.
  • [0015]
    It will be appreciated that zipper (10) is operable to seal bag (30). In the present example, such sealing occurs upon closure of zipper (10) by engagement of right profile (12) with left profile (14). As used herein, the term “seal” and its variants shall be read to generally imply the prevention of at least a substantial portion material (e.g., solids, gases, and/or liquids) from escaping or entering the container. However, such a “seal” need not per se be perfectly “air tight” or “water tight” as those phrases are commonly used and understood.
  • [0016]
    As shown in FIG. 2, right profile (12) and left profile (14) each have a pair of complimentary teeth (22) extending the length of the respective profiles (12, 14). Of course, each profile (12, 14) could have a single tooth (12), rather than a plurality of teeth (22). In the present example, closure of zipper (10) results from engagement of teeth (22), thereby effecting a seal of bag (30). In left profile (14), a hinge (24) is located adjacent teeth (22). It will be appreciated that hinge (24) may prevent inadvertent disengagement of teeth (22), such as by outward separation of sides (32, 34) of bag (30) and/or profiles (12, 14). Of course, right profile (12) may include a hinge (24) in addition to or as an alternative to left profile (14) having hinge. Alternatively, any suitable alternative to hinge (24) may be used, including but not limited to no hinge (24) at all. Each profile (12, 14) further comprises a flange region (11), which is adjacent teeth (22).
  • [0017]
    Engagement or disengagement of profiles (12, 14) at teeth (22) may be effected or otherwise facilitated by a slider (16), which is shown in FIG. 1. Slider (16) is configured to slide longitudinally along zipper (10) to bring profiles (12, 14) together into engagement or force profiles (12, 14) apart for disengagement, depending upon which direction slider (16) is slid. Sliders (16) are well known in the art, and any type of slider (16) may be used. In the present example, each profile (12, 14) has a guide (13), with which slider (16) is engaged. Of course, slider (16) is optional, and any suitable alternative to slider (16) may be used, including but not limited to no slider (16) at all.
  • [0018]
    As is also shown in FIG. 2, the outer surface of the right side (32) of bag (30) is secured to the inner surface of right profile (12) in flange region (11); while the outer surface of left side (34) of bag (30) is secured to the inner surface of left profile (14) in flange region (11). In another embodiment, sides (32, 34) of bag (30) are secured to the outer surfaces of respective profiles (12, 14). Of course, sides (32, 34) may be secured to profiles (12, 14) in any other configuration. In yet another embodiment, right side (32) of bag (30) and right profile (12) are a homogenous continuum of material (e.g., a single piece); and left side (34) of bag (30) and left profile (14) are a homogenous continuum of material. Still other suitable relative configurations of sides (32, 34) of bag (30) and profiles (12, 14) of zipper (10) will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.
  • [0019]
    Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that it may be desirable to provide some kind of assurance or indication as to whether a zipper (10) has been previously opened. In other words, it may be desirable to provide a device that is configured to show whether a zipper (10) and/or bag (30) has been tampered with. As used herein, the term “tamper evidence device,” including its variants, shall be read to include any feature, technique, and/or structure that is configured to provide evidence or indication that a bag (30) has been opened or otherwise tampered with. As used herein, the term “tamper” and its variants shall be read to include, but need not be limited to, an act of opening a bag (30) substantially or completely and/or gaining substantial or full access to its contents. Various exemplary devices for providing tamper evidence are shown in FIGS. 2-8. In these examples, the various tamper evidence devices include some type of seal that must be breached when the bag (30) is first opened completely (e.g., the first time complete access to the contents of bag (30) is gained). It will be appreciated, however, that the devices described hereafter are merely exemplary, and that tamper evidence may be provided by a variety of alternative devices. It will also be appreciated that the following examples and/or alternatives thereof may be used in isolation or in combination with one another. In addition, while tamper devices disclosed herein may provide tamper evidence, such devices may also provide other functionality and benefits not explicitly discussed herein.
  • [0020]
    In FIG. 2, a membrane (26) is positioned adjacent each profile (12, 14). In the present example, membrane (26) comprises a strip of a plastic material. Alternatively, membrane (26) may comprise any other material or combination of materials, including but not limited to fabric, paper, foil, metal, and the like. In one embodiment, membrane (26) comprises a substantially transparent material, while each profile (12, 14) comprises a substantially opaque material. Of course, membrane (26), right profile (12), and/or left profile (14) may have any other property, including but not limited to transparency, translucency, and/or opaqueness, color variations, including combinations thereof. In the present example, the wall thickness of membrane (26) is thinner than the wall thickness of profiles (12, 14). Of course, membrane (26) may alternatively be the same thickness as profiles (12, 14) or thicker than profiles (12, 14). Membrane (26) may be secured to profiles (12, 14) or walls (32, 34) via any suitable technique, including but not limited to heat-sealing, stitching, adhesives, press-sealing, cold welding, pressure bonding, double-sided tape, and the like. In another embodiment, membrane (26) is extruded with profiles (12, 14), such that membrane (26) and profiles (12, 14) comprise a homogenous continuum of material. In yet another embodiment, instead of being secured to profiles (12, 14), membrane (26) is secured to sides (32, 34) of bag (30). In still another embodiment, membrane (26) is secured to profiles (12, 14), and sides (32, 34) are secured to membrane (26). Other suitable configurations will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.
  • [0021]
    Membrane (26) of the present example is configured such that, when bag (30) is first opened, membrane (26) must be broken, torn, or otherwise breached in order to reach the contents of bag (30). Initial breach of membrane (26) may be facilitated by providing perforation (28) or other weakened feature in membrane (26). In one embodiment, membrane (26) includes a central, longitudinal perforation (28) along its length. In another embodiment, membrane (26) includes a longitudinal perforation along its junction each profile (12, 14). In still another embodiment, membrane (26) includes a longitudinal perforation along its junction with side (32 and/or 34) of bag (30). In yet another embodiment, a string, tab, or the like may be pulled to rip membrane (26). Still other ways of facilitating breach of membrane (26) will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.
  • [0022]
    In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3, profiles (12, 14) include a plurality of intermittent spot seals (40). Spot seals (40) join right profile (12) with left profile (14). Spot seals (40) may be provided by any suitable technique, including but not limited to heat-sealing, ultrasonic stitching, adhesives, press-sealing, cold welding, pressure bonding, double-sided tape, and the like. As shown, spot seals (40) are positioned below teeth (22) (i.e. between teeth (22) and bag (30)). However, it will be appreciated that spot seals (40) may be positioned above teeth (22) (“external”) in addition to or as an alternative to being positioned below teeth (22) (“internal”). Similarly, spot seals (40) may be provided in bag (30). In the present example, when bag (30) is first opened, spot seals (40) must be breached in order to gain full access to the contents of bag (30). It will be appreciated that such breach may be accomplished simply by pulling profiles (12, 14) apart with sufficient force to break spot seals (40). In one embodiment, the spot seals (40) break without compromising the wall integrity of profiles (12, 14). Of course, spot seals (40) need not comprise “spots” per se, and may comprise any suitable pattern, including but not limited to a continuous, longitudinal weld line along the length of profiles (12, 14) and/or sides (32, 34) of bag (30).
  • [0023]
    In addition to or as an alternative to having profiles (12, 14) comprising one or more tamper evidence devices, bag (30) may comprise a tamper evidence device. One such device is shown in FIG. 4, which shows bag (30) having a plurality of intermittent seals (50). In this example, seal (50) joins the inner wall of right side (32) of bag (30) with the inner wall of right side (34) of bag (30). In the present example, the inner walls of right side (32) and left side (34) comprise a plastic material, and seal (50) is provided by heating the plastic material. In another embodiment, seal (50) is provided by an adhesive, such as a glue. It will be appreciated that seal (50) may extend substantially the length of sides (32, 34). In yet another embodiment, seal (50) comprises a plurality of discrete spot seals (40). Thus, seal (50) may be considered a variation of spot seal (40), but the same is formed in bag (30) instead of the profiles (12, 14). Still other ways of providing seal (50) will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.
  • [0024]
    Seal (50) may be provided along at least a substantial portion of the length of bag (30), as a continuous line, as a pattern, as a broken line, or in any other suitable configuration. It will also be appreciated that, where sides (32, 34) of bag comprise a plurality of layers, seal (50) may join the innermost layers only, or the innermost layers in addition to other layers of the plurality. As with membrane (26) and spot seals (40) in profiles (12, 14), seal (50) may be breached the first time full access to contents of bag (30) is gained by pulling profiles (12, 14) and/or sides (32, 34) of bag (30) apart with sufficient force. One advantage of seal (50) may arise during the filling process. Bags (30) are often filled from the bottom after profiles (12, 14) are affixed to the bag (30). The process of filling can introduce significant loads and could compromise a zipper (10) seal if the load is introduced directly. Intermediary seals (50) may absorb the filling load instead of zipper (10). While a few seals (50) may break, the rest of the seals (50) may remain intact. Of course, seals (50) may be formed after a bag (30) is filled.
  • [0025]
    Yet another embodiment of a tamper evidence device is shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. In this embodiment, prior to being secured to bag (30), flange regions (11) at the bottom of each profile (12, 14) are joined together along the length of profiles (12, 14), resulting in a tack (60) being provided at the bottom of a “V”-like configuration. Tack (60) may be effected by any suitable technique, including but not limited to heat sealing, spot welding, stitching (e.g., sewing, ultrasonic stitching, and the like), adhesives, or any other technique. When tack (60) has been provided, profiles (12, 14) are then folded as shown in FIG. 6, such that tack (60) is moved upward, resulting flange regions (11) forming a “W”-like configuration. In this “W”-like configuration, upturned portion (62) of right profile (12) is adjacent tack (60), as is upturned portion (64) of left profile (14). Upturned portion (62) defines right valley (66) with the remainder of right profile (12); while upturned portion (64) defines left valley (68) with the remainder of left profile (14). In the present example, sides (32, 34) of bag are secured to upturned portions (62, 64) of profiles (12, 14). Such securing may be accomplished by any of the aforementioned techniques, or any alternative technique. Of course, sides (32, 34) may be alternatively secured to the remainder of profiles (12, 14) (e.g., to the outside of profiles (12, 14)). In any event, tack (60) and/or upturned portions (62, 64) of the present example must be breached upon initial access to contents of bag (30), such that tack (60) and/or upturned portions (62, 64) provide a tamper evidence device. It will be appreciated that tack (60) and/or any part(s) of upturned portions (62, 64) may be perforated or otherwise weakened to facilitate such breach. It will also be appreciated that an adhesive, such as glue by way of example only, may be applied in valleys (66, 68). Where an adhesive is applied in valleys (66, 68), upturned portions (62, 64) may be adhered to respective, adjacent profile (12, 14) walls. Still other suitable configurations for an embodiment having tack (60) will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.
  • [0026]
    Alternatively, profiles (12, 14) may be extruded as a single piece, either in the “V”-like configuration shown in FIG. 5, in the “W”-like configuration shown in FIG. 6, or in any other configuration. By way of example only, where profiles (12, 14) are extruded as a single piece, the unified profiles (12, 14) may be joined to bag (30) in a manner similar to that shown in FIG. 6. In the region analogous to that where tack (60) would be if profiles (12, 14) were not extruded as a single piece, a perforation or other weakening feature may be present to facilitate separation of profiles (12, 14). Of course, any other techniques, features, and configurations may be used.
  • [0027]
    In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 7, a tamper evidence device comprises a drape (70). Drape (70) is positioned externally over the tops of profiles (12, 14). Alternatively, drape (70) may be positioned externally over slider (16) only. Drape (70) may longitudinally extend along the entire length of profiles (12, 14), or one or more portions thereof. Drape (70) may longitudinally terminate adjacent to or proximate to slider (16), or may cover slider (16). Drape (70) may extend downwardly such that it terminates adjacent to profiles (12, 14), such that it terminates adjacent to sides (32, 34) of bag (30), or combinations thereof. Drape (70) may be secured to profiles (12, 14) and/or sides (32, 34) by any of the aforementioned securing techniques or any alternative techniques. Other suitable configurations for drape (70) will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. By way of example only, drape (70) may comprise tape, film, paper, combinations thereof, or any other suitable material(s). In the present example, drape (70) must be breached on order to initially disengage teeth (22). Such breach may be facilitated by one or more perforated regions in drape (70), by a string or tab that may be pulled to rip the drape (70), or by any other suitable structure or technique.
  • [0028]
    In addition to or as an alternative to having profiles (12, 14) and/or bag (30) comprise one or more tamper evidence devices, slider (16) may comprise a tamper evidence device. Such slider (16) devices may provide an initial resistance to movement of slider (16). As used herein, particularly when referring to slider (16), the phrase “initial resistance” shall be understood to include a resistance encountered when slider (16) is slid for the first time. Such initial resistance will be greater than the resistance encountered during subsequent movement of slider (16). In other words, an initial resistance may provide an individual with tactile feedback indicating whether the slider (16) has been initially moved. The amount of initial resistance may be great enough to prevent movement of slider (16) during general handling of the container, but small enough to be overcome without causing substantial damage to slider (16), profiles (12, 14), and/or the container. In certain embodiments, a tamper evidence device may provide a relatively high resistance to initial movement of slider (16) (e.g., relative to resistance encountered during subsequent movement of slider (16)), while not substantially affecting subsequent movement of slider (16).
  • [0029]
    FIG. 8 depicts slider (16) having a transverse opening (80) formed therethrough. Opening (80) is also formed through profiles (12, 14). In one embodiment, opening (80) is formed by the insertion of a hot needle-like structure through slider (16) and adjacent portions of profiles (12, 14) after slider (16) has been mounted to profiles (12, 14). In this embodiment, material adjacent opening (80) is slightly melted, resulting in slight deformation of the profiles (12, 14) adjacent to opening (80). It will be appreciated that such melting and deformation may provide an initial resistance to movement of slider (16). In other words, the melting and deformation of material may provide a seal within opening (80), and the breaking of such a seal will be required to move slider (16) for the first time. The breaking of the seal will provide the initial resistance, thereby indicating that slider (16) is being moved for the first time. In the present example, subsequent movement of slider (16) will not be substantially affected by opening (80) or the melting/deformation resulting from the formation of opening (80).
  • [0030]
    In another embodiment, similar melting/deformation is obtained by a the use of a laser to form opening (80). Alternatively, any other source of focusable heat energy may be used to form opening (80) with melting-type deformation.
  • [0031]
    In another embodiment, opening (80) is formed by a member having a hook-like structure at its end being inserted through slider (16) and pulled back through opening (80). Accordingly, the hook-like structure will pass through adjacent portions of profiles (12, 14) as well. It will be appreciated that, during withdrawal of the hook-like structure, the hook-like structure will pull material back through opening (80), which will result in deformation of the material. The presence of this deformed material within opening (80) will provide a seal within opening (80) similar to the seal provided by insertion of a hot needle-like structure through slider (16). Accordingly, the breaking of the seal will provide the above-described initial resistance, thereby indicating that slider (16) is being moved for the first time. Subsequent movement of slider (16) will not be substantially affected by opening (80) or the pull-through deformation resulting from the formation of opening (80). While a hook-like structure has been described for obtaining the pull-trough deformation, it will be appreciated that any other structure or technique may be used to effect pull-through and/or push-through deformation.
  • [0032]
    In yet another embodiment of the slider depicted in FIG. 8, a member is inserted into opening (80) to provide the initial resistance. In one embodiment, the inserted member is breakable, such that the inserted member is broken when slider (16) is first slid to disengage teeth (22). In this embodiment, this breaking will provide the initial resistance, while the member will not substantially affect subsequent movement of slider. In another embodiment, the inserted member is removable, such that the inserted member must be removed before slider (16) may be moved. In this embodiment, the inserted member and/or slider (16) may be configured such that once the inserted member is removed, it cannot be re-inserted. Other features and variations of an inserted member and/or opening (80) to provide a tamper evidence device will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.
  • [0033]
    In still another embodiment, an adhesive is placed on slider (16) and/or on profiles (12, 14) near slider (16). In this embodiment, the adhesive provides the initial resistance to movement of slider (16). The properties of the adhesive are such that, when slider (16) is moved with sufficient force to break the seal or bond provided by the adhesive, damage to slider (16) and/or profiles (12, 14) will not result. For instance, the adhesive may comprise a rubbery glue-like material. Other suitable adhesives for this embodiment and variations thereof will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.
  • [0034]
    In another embodiment, initial resistance to movement of slider (16) is provided by sealing at least a portion of teeth (22) together. For instance, a longitudinal membrane may be used to join the tops of profiles (12, 14) in the vertical region between teeth (22) and slider (16). This membrane and slider (16) may be configured such that movement of slider (16) is required to break the membrane. Before and during this breaking movement of slider (16), however, the membrane provides resistance to movement of slider. In the present example, the membrane may be longitudinally perforated or otherwise weakened to facilitate breaking of the membrane by slider (16). Alternatively, an adhesive may be used to join profiles (12, 14) together in the region between the teeth (22) slider (16). Such an adhesive may provide initial resistance, yet have no significant effect on performance of slider (16) and/or zipper (10) during subsequent use. Still other membrane-slider or adhesive features, variations, and combinations will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.
  • [0035]
    In still another embodiment, opening (80) is formed through profiles (12, 14) proximate to slider (16), but not through slider (16). Such an opening (80) may be formed by any suitable technique, including but not limited to insertion of a hot needle-like structure, insertion of a hook-like structure, or any other technique. It will be appreciated that such an opening (80) formed through profiles (12, 14) may provide features and advantages similar to those provided by having a similar opening (80) formed through slider (16). Of course, there may be additional advantages, which will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.
  • [0036]
    While the foregoing tamper evidence devices have been described as providing a way in which tampering may be detected, it will be appreciated that such devices may provide other uses as well. By way of example only, it will be appreciated that during the normal course of handling of a given container, for instance from the time it is filled to the time it reaches a shelf in a retail setting, the handling may urge slider (16) to move, profiles (12, 14) to separate, or lead to other potentially undesirable results. The foregoing tamper evidence devices may provide resistance to those and other results. For instance, and without limitation, an opening (80) formed through slider (16) and/or profiles (12, 14) may prevent inadvertent movement of slider (16) during handling.
  • [0037]
    Of course, the foregoing examples are merely illustrative, and are not intended to be limiting in any way.
  • [0038]
    Having shown and described various embodiments and concepts of the invention, further adaptations of the methods and systems described herein can be accomplished by appropriate modifications by one of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope of the invention. Several of such potential alternatives, modifications, and variations have been mentioned, and others will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing teachings. Accordingly, the invention is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations as may fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims and is understood not to be limited to the details of structure and operation shown and described in the specification and drawings.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification383/61.2, 383/203, 383/5, 383/63, 383/64
International ClassificationB65D33/14, B65D33/16, B65D33/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65D33/2508, B65D33/2525, B65D33/2591, B65D33/2533
European ClassificationB65D33/25A, B65D33/25A1A, B65D33/25C, B65D33/25A1C
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 14, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: ZIP PACK IP AG, SWITZERLAND
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:EADS, CLAUDE ALAN;GARGER, RAINER M.;O CONNOR, THOMAS P.;REEL/FRAME:016772/0272;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050707 TO 20050711
Owner name: ZIP PACK IP AG, SWITZERLAND
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:EADS, CLAUDE ALAN;GARGER, RAINER M.;O CONNOR, THOMAS P.;SIGNING DATES FROM 20050707 TO 20050711;REEL/FRAME:016772/0272