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Publication numberUS20080087713 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/546,494
Publication dateApr 17, 2008
Filing dateOct 11, 2006
Priority dateOct 11, 2006
Publication number11546494, 546494, US 2008/0087713 A1, US 2008/087713 A1, US 20080087713 A1, US 20080087713A1, US 2008087713 A1, US 2008087713A1, US-A1-20080087713, US-A1-2008087713, US2008/0087713A1, US2008/087713A1, US20080087713 A1, US20080087713A1, US2008087713 A1, US2008087713A1
InventorsAndrew Deniston, James Willman
Original AssigneeElwood Industries
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Container for holding flexible bag
US 20080087713 A1
Abstract
A container for dispensing a beverage includes a top panel, a left panel coupled to the top panel, a right panel coupled to the top panel and opposite the left panel, a first bottom panel coupled to the left panel, the first bottom panel including a first opening, a second bottom panel coupled to the right panel and overlaying the first bottom panel, the second bottom panel including a second opening coincident with the first opening to form at least a portion of a container opening, a front panel coupled to either the left of right panel and a support panel coupled to the front panel and disposed against either the first or second bottom panel.
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Claims(20)
1. A blank that can be used to construct a container for a liquid-filled pouch, the blank comprising:
a top panel;
a left panel foldably connected to the top panel;
a right panel foldably connected to the top panel;
a first bottom panel foldably connected to the left panel, the first bottom panel including a first opening;
a second bottom panel foldably connected to the right panel, the second bottom panel including a second opening, wherein the first bottom panel can be overlaid on the second bottom panel such that the first opening is coincident with the second opening to define at least a portion of a container opening;
a front panel foldably connected to either the right panel or the left panel; and
a support panel foldably coupled to the front panel, wherein the support panel is disposable against either the first or second bottom panel.
2. The blank of claim 1, wherein the blank is constructed of a plurality of layers.
3. The blank of claim 2, wherein the plurality of layers include at least one layer of paperboard and at least one polyethylene coating.
4. The blank of claim 1, wherein the first opening is an arched opening defining a first pair of legs extending downwardly, and the second opening is an arched opening defining a second pair of legs extending downwardly.
5. The blank of claim 4, wherein the support panel is disposable against either the first pair of legs or the second pair of legs.
6. The blank of claim 4, wherein the support panel has a end, wherein when the support panel is disposed on either the first or second bottom panel, the end of the support panel and the arched openings of the first and second bottom panels define the container opening.
7. The blank of claim 6, wherein the end of the support panel is curved.
8. The blank of claim 1, further comprising a fastening flap foldably connected to the front panel.
9. A container for a dispensing a beverage, comprising:
a top panel;
a left panel coupled to the top panel;
a right panel coupled to the top panel and opposite the left panel;
a first bottom panel coupled to the left panel, the first bottom panel including a first opening;
a second bottom panel coupled to the right panel and overlaying the first bottom panel, the second bottom panel including a second opening coincident with the first opening to form at least a portion of a container opening;
a front panel coupled to either the right or left panel; and
a support panel coupled to the front panel and disposed against either the first or second bottom panel.
10. The container of claim 9, wherein the first opening is an arched opening defining a first pair of legs extending downwardly, and the second opening is an arched opening defining a second pair of legs extending downwardly.
11. The blank of claim 10, wherein the support panel is disposed against either the first pair of legs or the second pair of legs.
12. The blank of claim 10, wherein the support panel has a end, the end of the support panel and the arched openings of the first and second bottom panels define the container opening.
13. The blank of claim 12, wherein the end of the support panel is curved.
14. The blank of claim 9, further comprising a fastening flap foldably connected to the front panel.
15. An assembly for dispensing a beverage or food, comprising:
a flexible pouch;
a spout extending out from the flexible pouch, the spout including a first flange and a second flange spaced from the first flange to define a receiving area; and
a container including a top panel, a left panel coupled to the top panel, a right panel coupled to the top panel and opposite the left panel, a first bottom panel coupled to the left panel, the first bottom panel including a first opening defining a first inner edge, a second bottom panel coupled to the right panel and overlaying the first bottom panel, the second bottom panel including a second opening defining a second inner edge and being coincident with the first opening to form at least a portion of a container opening, a front panel coupled to either the left or right panel, and a support panel coupled to the front panel and disposed against either the first or second bottom panel;
wherein the first inner edge and the second inner edge of the container opening are disposed in the receiving area of the spout.
16. The container of claim 15, wherein the first opening is an arched opening defining a first pair of legs extending downwardly, and the second opening is an arched opening defining a second pair of legs extending downwardly.
17. The blank of claim 16, wherein the support panel is disposed against either the first pair of legs or the second pair of legs.
18. The blank of claim 16, wherein the support panel has a end, the end of the support panel and the arched openings of the first and second bottom panels define the container opening.
19. The blank of claim 18, wherein the end of the support panel is curved.
20. A blank that can be used to construct a container for a liquid-filled pouch, the blank comprising:
a top panel;
a left panel foldably connected to the top panel;
a right panel foldably connected to the top panel;
a first bottom panel foldably connected to the left panel, the first bottom panel including a first arched opening; and
a second bottom panel foldably connected to the right panel, the second bottom panel including a second arched opening, wherein the first bottom panel can be overlaid on the second bottom panel such that the first arched opening is coincident with the second arched opening to define at least a portion of a container opening;
wherein the blank is constructed of a plurality of layers including at least one layer of paperboard and at least one polyethylene coating.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to a container for storing a flexible bag that holds a liquid, and more particularly to a container that allows the liquid to be dispensed from the flexible bag.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Dispensing machines such as that shown in FIG. 1 have become ubiquitous at hotels, restaurants, colleges, and foodservice operations that need to serve large volumes of drinks to many consumers. In such a traditional beverage dispensing system, beverage concentrates are stored in containers within the dispensing machine. To acquire the desired beverage, a user places a cup under the dispensing spout and pushes a button. When the button is pressed, a switch is activated, and the beverage dispensing machine actuates a dispense valve on the beverage concentrate container. The beverage concentrate flows to a mixing chamber where it is mixed with water to form the beverage. The reconstituted beverage is the sent downwardly out of the mixing chamber and into the user's cup. When the cup is filled, the user releases the button, the switch is deactivated, and the supply of the beverage is cut off. In other prior art machines, a non-concentrated beverage, otherwise known as a single strength beverage, is used instead of a concentrated beverage. In this example, the single strength beverage is not mixed with water, but is sent directly from the beverage container to the user's cup.

Traditionally, these concentrates are shipped frozen and in a freezer truck to their destination to protect against contamination. Once they reach the destination, the packages are thawed to allow the concentrates to flow. Thawing requires time and the frozen state of the concentrate prevents the products from being useful upon their arrival. Further, because the concentrates are water-based, upon thawing the product shrinks in size. Thus, a frozen product requires a package larger than the ultimately thawed product (due to the water's expansion upon freezing), and less liquid concentrate can be shipped. Moreover, a frozen product may thaw during the trip and re-freeze, thus allowing the product to become contaminated. Finally, preservatives are often added to the product, which is becoming less and less desirable to the consumer.

The currently used packaging for the frozen concentrates are either a blow-molded container or a bag in a box unit. The blow molded container, shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, is typically high density polyethylene in a parallelepiped shape. On the top side it includes a large opening covered by a screw-on cap (see FIG. 3), and on the bottom side it includes a small opening covered by a ball valve (see FIG. 2). In use, a semi-frozen concentrate is introduced into the container through the large opening, and then the cap is screwed onto the opening. In another example not shown, the container only has a single opening covered by a ball valve during use, and the semi-frozen concentrate is introduced through the single opening prior to use with the ball valve removed. The container is transported in a frozen state to its destination, where it then thawed. The concentrate container is then loaded into a dispensing machine. When a user presses the aforementioned button to dispense the product, the dispensing machine engages the ball valve to release the concentrate from the container.

In another example, a flexible bag or pouch filled with concentrated beverage is stored in a corrugated (a.k.a. cardboard) box. Such a design is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 6,561,386. In this example, the concentrated beverage contains preservatives such that it does not need to be frozen. However, the particular design has proven to be unsatisfactory because the box is not strong enough to maintain the valve in a fixed position. During use, the beverage dispenser pushes on the ball valve to release the concentrate. Because the corrugated box cannot maintain the valve, the valve generally collapses into the interior of the corrugated box. Further, the interior of the beverage dispensing machine is wet and humid, and the corrugated material itself tends to break down, thus exacerbating the problem of the container not being able to hold the valve in place to properly dispense the liquid.

As mentioned earlier, there are several disadvantages in using the frozen concentrate. Thus, it has been proposed to package the product aseptically. In aseptics, the liquid concentrate is quickly brought to a very high temperature to commercially sterilize the product, then just as quickly brought back to room temperature. The product is then dispensed into a sterile bag which is then sealed to prohibit any oxygen from entering in a sterile chamber. The product can be transported to its destination in a liquid state at room temperature without worry of contamination. Further, because the concentrate is transported in a liquid state, it requires less packaging and provides more finished product per unit. No preservatives are required, and because the concentrate is sterile and can be transported in a liquid state, the concentrate can be used immediately upon receipt without the need for thawing.

However, the currently used packaging for concentrates used for beverage dispensing machines are not useful for aseptics. To introduce aseptically-treated concentrate in the plastic container described above, the container would be required to be sterilized and also placed in a sterile cabinet prior to filling the container with the liquid concentrate. Once filled, the container would be sealed, and only then could the container be removed from the sterile cabinet. This set-up, while possible, is not financially reasonable. Accordingly, a solution that is more cost-effective is required for aseptically-treated beverage concentrate. The previously described bag-in-a-box system is not effective because it retains its problems listed above.

Accordingly, there is a need for a package for an aseptically-treated beverage concentrate for use in a beverage dispensing machine. Further, it would be advantageous if the package could be used in currently existing beverage dispensing machine.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a prior art beverage dispensing machine.

FIG. 2 is a bottom perspective view of a prior art concentrate plastic container for use with a beverage dispensing machine.

FIG. 3 is a top perspective view of the prior art concentrate plastic container of FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an assembly for containing a single strength beverage or beverage concentrate.

FIG. 5 is a plan view of a blank used to make the container of the assembly of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the container in a partially assembled state.

FIG. 7 is a cross sectional view of the assembly of FIG. 4 taken along line VII-VII in FIG. 4.

FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view of a second embodiment of an assembly for containing a single strength beverage or beverage concentrate.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIG. 4, a bag-in-box assembly 10 for storing and dispensing a liquid concentrate is shown. The assembly 10 includes a container 12, a flexible pouch 14 disposed within the container 12, a spout 16 disposed on the pouch 14, and a valve 18 affixed to the spout 16. The container 12 has a bottom side 20, a left side 22, a front side 24, a back side 26, a top side 28, and a right side (not seen in this view). The spout 16 extends from inside the container 12, through an opening 30 formed in the bottom side 20 of the container 12, and to the outside of the container 12. The container 12 can include a plurality of vent holes 31. The vent holes 31 can be ″ in diameter and allow air to enter the container 12 to provide proper and even cooling within container 12 as it dispenses liquid held inside.

Referring now to FIG. 5, a paperboard blank 32 useful in creating the container 12 is depicted. The blank 32 in this example is manufactured from layered paper and a polyethylene coating, and is referred to herein by its trade name VersaBoard. VersaBoard creates a product that is very strong, generally resistant to water, and thin. It can also be easily cut, scored, and folded. In particular, the VersaBoard used in the disclosed embodiment is manufactured from seven layers of paper, where a polyethylene coating is interspersed within the seven layers of paper, and all are glued together to form a sheet. Other materials can be used for the blank, including corrugated paper, fiberboard, etc., due to the superior design of the blank itself. Plastic, metal, wood, or other materials may also be used. In FIG. 5, the cuts are shown as solid lines, and the folds are shown as phantom lines.

The blank 32 includes a left panel 34 foldably connected to a top panel 36, which is in turn foldably connected to a right panel 38. The left panel 34 has a left front panel 40 and a left back panel 42 foldably attached to it, and the right panel 38 has a right front panel 44 and a right back panel 46 foldably attached to it. The top panel 36 has a top back tab 48 and a top front tab 50 foldably attached to it. The left panel 34 has a first bottom panel 52 foldably attached to it, and the right panel 38 has a second bottom panel 54 foldably attached to it. A fastening flap 56 and a support panel 58 are both foldably attached to the right front panel 44. The support panel 58 includes an end 60 that is curved in this example.

The first bottom panel 52 has a bottom back tab 62 and a securing panel 64 foldably attached to it on opposite ends. The first bottom panel 52 includes an arched opening 66 defining a first pair of legs 68 and a first inner edge 70. The securing panel 64 also includes an arched opening 72 with an inner edge 73 that is a mirror image of the arched opening 66 of the first bottom panel 52. The second bottom panel 54 also includes an arched opening 74 defining a second pair of legs 76 and a second inner edge 78.

To construct the container 12 from the blank 32, the left panel 34 is folded 90 relative to the top panel 36 about fold line F1, and the right panel 38 is folded 90 relative to the top panel 36 about fold line F2, such that the left panel 34 and the right panel 38 are approximately parallel to each other. The first bottom panel 52 is then folded 90 about fold line F3 relative to the left panel 34, and the second bottom panel 54 is folded 90 about fold line F4 relative to the right panel 38 such that the first bottom panel 52 overlays the second bottom panel 54. The first bottom panel 52 can be affixed to the second bottom 54 panel by known means such as an adhesive or a fastener. The securing panel 64 can then be flipped up such that the second bottom panel 54 is sandwiched between the first bottom panel 52 and the securing panel 64 and affixed with adhesive. The arched openings 66, 72, 74 of each of the first bottom panel 52, the second bottom panel 54, and the securing panel 64 are coincident such that a single opening 30 is formed. At this point, the container 12 is as shown in FIG. 6.

The left back panel 42, the right back panel 46, the bottom back tab 62, and the top back tap 48 can then be folded over each other and affixed to one another with adhesive as is known to form the back side 26 of the container 12. The pouch 14, filled with a liquid such as an aseptically or other treated concentrate, can be inserted into the container 12 at this point and secured as will be described later. The pouch 14 can be manufactured from a food grade material as is known in the art to provide an oxygen barrier.

The top front tab 50 is then folded inwardly to begin construction of the front side 24 of the container 12. The fastening flap 56 is folded 90 along fold line F5, and the support panel 58 is folded 90 along fold line F6 to the position shown in FIG. 6. The right front panel 44 is then folded inwardly with the fastening flap 56 inside the container 12 and the support panel 58 inside of the securing panel 64 in the direction of arrow A. The support panel 58 can be affixed to the securing panel 64 with adhesive. See FIG. 4, depicting the position of the support panel 58 relative to the first bottom panel 52. The fastening flap 56 can be affixed to the left panel 34. As can be seen in FIG. 5, a gap 80 in the blank 32 between the top front tab 50 and the left front panel 40 is large to accommodate the fastening flap 56. The left front panel 40 is then folded inwardly over the right front panel 44 and affixed using an adhesive. The container 12 is now formed.

Referring now to FIG. 7, the construction of the container opening 30 holding the spout 16 is shown. The spout 16 is generally cylindrical with an inner pathway 82. The spout 16 includes a first flange 86 extending outwardly at a back side of the spout 16, and the pouch 14 is attached to the first flange 86. The valve 18 is likewise generally cylindrical with an attachment section 88 and is attached to the spout 16 by inserting the attachment section 88 of the valve 18 into the inner pathway 82 of the spout 16 such that a recess 90 on the attachment section 88 engages an interior ring 92 on the spout 16. A liquid-tight connection is thereby formed. In the embodiment disclosed herein, the valve 18 is a ball valve, however the actual ball and spring mechanism of the valve 18 is removed for clarity and is well known. Further, the valve 18 could be other types of valves and this disclosure is not limited to only ball valves.

The spout 16 further includes a second flange 94 and a third flange 96 spaced axially from the second flange 94 to define a receiving area 98. With the spout 16 extending through the opening 30, the spout 16 is affixed to the container 12 by inserting the inner edges 70, 73, 78 of the first bottom panel 52, the second bottom panel 54, and the securing panel 64 into the receiving area 98. In other words, the receiving area 98 has a width approximately equal to or slightly smaller than the combined width of the first bottom panel 52, the second bottom panel 54, and the securing panel 64.

In a second example shown in FIG. 8, the securing panel 64 is omitted without an appreciable loss in functionality of the container 12. Accordingly, in this example the receiving area 98 of the spout 16 is the combined width of only the first bottom panel 52 and the second bottom panel 54, with the support panel 58 being affixed to the second bottom panel 54 by adhesive. In all other ways, this example is the same as that disclosed above.

Due to the shear strength of the VersaBoard, the multiple layering of the individual panels, and the further support from the support panel 58, it has been found that the container 12 has sufficient strength and durability to withstand the repeated upward force of the beverage dispensing machine actuating the valve 18. The VersaBoard's layer of polyethylene further adds to the water repellency of the container 12 and ensures that the container 12 will remain strong enough to secure the spout 16 without the actuator pushing the spout 16 into the container 12.

While this assembly 10 is particularly useful for an aseptically-treated beverage concentrate, it has many other uses. For example, the assembly 10 can be used with a single strength beverage or other beverage, such as water, tea, lemonade, or the like. Other food products such as sauces, gravies, dressings, mustard, ketchup and the like can also be dispensed. Further, the VersaBoard provides less insulation that a corrugated paper product. This is helpful in that it allows the beverage or food product stored within the container 12 to change temperature quickly, such that when the assembly 10 is placed in a refrigerated beverage dispenser, the concentrate will rapidly cool. Further, in the disclosed examples, it has been found that the design of the opening 30 of the container 12 has enough strength that a user can re-use the container 12 with a different pouch 14. In other words, after a first pouch 14 is completely emptied, a user can pull out the container 12 from the beverage dispensing machine, take the empty pouch 14 out from the container 12, and install a new, filled pouch 14 into the container 12. It has also been found that the opening 30 has enough strength to accept the spout 16 of the new pouch 14, even after it has dispensed the entire contents of the original pouch 14. Finally, it has been found that the container 12 can maintain the original spout 16 in the container 12 while the assembly 10 is being pulled from the dispensing machine, and can maintain the new spout 16 in the container 12 while the assembly 10 is reinstalled on the dispensing machine. In other examples not shown, it is believed that this novel design would greatly enhance the usefulness of a container made of corrugated paper or other paper product. The blank could even be made from plastic or metal.

Numerous modifications and alternative embodiments of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art in view of the foregoing descriptions. Accordingly, these descriptions are to be construed as illustrative only and are for the purpose of teaching those skilled in the art the best mode or modes presently contemplated for carrying out the invention. The details of the structure or structures disclosed herein may be varied substantially without departing from the spirit of the invention, and the exclusive use of all modifications which come within the scope of the appended claims, either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents, is reserved.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8146780Dec 16, 2008Apr 3, 2012Cryovac, Inc.Interlocking dispensing system for dispensing a pumpable products
US20120097707 *Apr 28, 2010Apr 26, 2012LablaboPocket vial packaging and dispensing device
US20120152978 *Nov 15, 2011Jun 21, 2012Fujifilm CorporationLiquid bag connecting member
US20130213970 *May 9, 2011Aug 22, 2013Jeong Sik HanDual pack
Classifications
U.S. Classification229/117.27, 229/117.3, 229/125.39, 222/105, 383/66
International ClassificationB65D5/56, B65D43/22
Cooperative ClassificationB65D77/067, B65D5/0227, B65D5/0254
European ClassificationB65D77/06B2A, B65D5/02F, B65D5/02C
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jan 19, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: ELWOOD PACKAGING, INC., ILLINOIS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:DENISTON, ANDREW;WILLMAN, JAMES;REEL/FRAME:018790/0230
Effective date: 20061207