US 20080230410 A1
A hard pack cigarette package includes an inner frame with fold-over tabs at the top of the inner frame shoulders that overlap an opposing flap in the hinged lid of the package. When the lid is opened or closed, the tabs and opposing flap disengage with an audible click sound. The force required to disengage the tabs and flap help to retain the lid in a secured closed position.
1. A hinged lid container comprising a body portion, an inner frame insert and a lid portion,
the body portion including a front wall, a rear wall, and a pair of side walls defining an interior of the body portion,
the lid portion including a top wall and front wall defining an interior of the lid portion, the lid front wall including a fold over flap adhered to an interior surface of the front wall and terminating with an edge separated from the top wall to define a tab-receiving gap exposing a portion of the front wall interior surface, the lid portion being hingedly connected to the body portion,
the inner frame insert comprising a front panel in the interior of the body portion and disposed substantially parallel to said body front wall, the front panel including a top left side with a hingedly connected left tab at the top left side and a top right side of the front panel with a right tab hingedly connect to the top right side, the tabs being outwardly folded over the front panel,
wherein when the lid portion is moving from an open position to a closed position, the fold over flap of the lid front wall and the tabs of the inner frame insert cooperate such that the flap slides along the tabs until the tabs are received in the tab-receiving gap with a terminal edge of the tab snapping against the exposed interior surface of the lid portion front wall to generate an audible sound.
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12. A container for receiving smoking articles, the container comprising a body, an inner frame insert in the body and a lid hingedly attached to the body, the lid including a top wall and a front wall terminating with a flap folded over and against an interior surface of the front wall, the inner frame insert including a front panel with a left shoulder and a right shoulder extending proximate to the front wall and terminating near a top of the lid, wherein the improvement comprises:
a tab depending outwardly down from the top of each of the right shoulder and the left shoulder forming an angle with the shoulders, the flap of the lid front wall and the tabs of the inner frame shoulders being sized and positioned in relation to each other such that when the lid is moved toward a closed position the flap and the tabs are in sliding contact with each other and the tabs slides off an end of the flap and against an interior surface of the lid front wall to generate an audible click to define a closed position of the lid.
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The present invention relates to tobacco products, such as smoking articles, and in particular, to packages suitable for containing tobacco products.
Popular smoking articles, such as cigarettes, conventionally have been sold in packages. Typically, each full package contains about 20 cigarettes. Cigarettes have been packaged in containers known as so-called “soft packs.” See, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,695,422 to Tripodi; 4,717,017 to Sprinkel, Jr., et al.; and 5,333,729 to Wolfe; which are incorporated herein by reference. Cigarettes also have been packaged in containers known as so-called “hard packs” or “crush proof boxes.” See, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,874,581 to Fox et al.; 3,944,066 to Niepmann; and 4,852,734 to Allen et al.; which are incorporated herein by reference.
Various modifications have been proposed to the so-called “hard pack” cigarette package designs to enhance the consumer acceptance of the package. For example, it has been disclosed to incorporate a flap or tab on or near the lid of the pack to assist in keeping the lid in a closed position and/or to provide an audible “click” to indicate that the lid is closed, such as has been disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,948,038 to Moeller; 6,105,856 to Kakiuchi; 6,334,532 to Tambo et al.; and 6,889,827 to Stringfield; each of which is incorporated herein by reference. Each of these patents discloses packages with flaps or tabs positioned in the center of the front wall of the lid and the body. See also, the packaging for cigarettes distributed in Europe under the brand name “Marlboro Wides” by Philip Morris Products S.A., Neuchatel, Switzerland, which has a side-opening lid with a tab on the lid and a corresponding receiving slot in the center of a side wall of the body.
It would be highly desirable to provide an aesthetically pleasing cigarette package having with more effective or reliable means to provide an audible click indicative of retaining the lid in a closed position.
The present invention relates to containers for smoking articles, such as cigarettes. A representative hard pack cigarette container includes a body with an inner frame insert in the top opening of the body. The insert includes a front wall with a low cut center portion between two shoulders that extend higher at the sides of the body. The low cut center portion allows greater access to cigarettes in the package. The top of each shoulder includes a tab that depends outwardly from the top of the shoulder. A lid is hingedly connected to the rear of the opening. A front wall of the lid closes over the front wall of the inner frame insert. The bottom of the front wall of the lid includes a flap folded back into the inner portion of the lid. The flap of the lid front wall and the tabs of the inner frame shoulders are sized and positioned in relation to each other such that the flap and the tab slip past each other and overlap with an audible click when the lid is moved to a closed position, and causes the tabs and the flap to engage until moved past a point of release with an audible click when the lid is moved to an open position.
In another embodiment, a representative cigarette container for receiving smoking articles includes a body, an inner frame insert in the body and a lid hingedly attached to the body, the lid including a top wall and a front wall terminating with a flap folded over and against an interior surface of the front wall, the inner frame insert including a front panel with a left shoulder and a right shoulder extending proximate to the front wall and terminating near a top of the lid. The improvement of such a container includes a tab depending outwardly from the top of each of the left shoulder and the right shoulder forming an angle with the shoulders, the flap of the lid front wall and the tabs of the inner frame shoulders being sized and positioned in relation to each other such that when the lid is moved toward a closed position the flap and the tabs are in sliding contact with each other and the tabs slides off an end of the flap and against an interior surface of the lid front wall to generate an audible click to define a closed position of the lid. Other features and advantages of preferred embodiments will be evident from the following figures and detailed description.
The inner frame insert 60 of the assembled container 10 includes a left side wall 62, a right side wall 64 and a front wall 66 connecting the left side and right side walls. The front wall 66 includes a low height center portion 68, a right shoulder 70 and a left shoulder 72. The low height center portion provides for exposure of the wrapping material (not shown) to allow removal of the wrapping material and easier removal of the smoking articles (not shown), such as cigarettes, contained in the wrapping material in the interior of the container. The right and left shoulders extend to a height above the low height center portion 68 of the front wall 66. The inner frame insert 60 is positioned inside the top opening 30 of the body. The inner frame insert 60 is adhered to the interior portion of the body in a position such that the top of the right and left shoulders 70 and 72 extend above the body top opening 30 and are at a height just below the top wall 54 of the lid when the lid 40 is in a closed position. In a preferred embodiment, suitable adhesive applied to a portion of the walls of the inner frame insert 60 that contacts the inner face of the walls of the body portion 20 acts to secure the insert. The inner frame insert 60 further includes a right friction tab or ear 74 and a left friction tab or ear 76 extending outwardly in the plane of the front wall past each of the right side and left side walls. The friction tabs or ears provide a frictional contact between the inner frame insert and the lid 40 to assist in retaining the lid in a closed position against the inner frame insert 60 and body portion 20, as is conventionally known in the art. The right and left shoulders 70 and 72 further include a folded over tab 80 and 82 outwardly extending from the top of the shoulders away from the interior of the container. Preferably the tabs are not adhered to the exterior surface of the front wall of the inner frame insert, such that the tabs are free to rotate about a hinged connection with the shoulders. Preferably, the tabs are hingedly connected at the top of the shoulder of the front wall by a creased score 90 and 92, as shown in
During operation, when the lid 40 is in a closed position each of the tabs 80 and 82 preferably slide into position in the tab-receiving gap 56 against the interior surface 58 of the lid front wall 42. When a user closes the lid 40, the tabs 80 and 82 slide across the interface of the front wall flap 50. When the lid moves to a near closed position, the tabs slide off the edge of the front wall flap 50 into the tab-receiving gap 58 and snap against the interior surface 56 of the front wall with an audible click that may be heard by the user. This audible click is a sensory feedback to the user indicating that the lid is in a fully closed position. In addition to the feedback of the audible click, the action of the tab snapping against the front wall of the lid also provides a tactile sensory feedback to the user holding the container 10 indicating that the lid is in a fully closed position.
The lid 40 most preferably is integrally connected to the body portion 20 so it may be movable in an open and closed position without physical separation from the outer body portion. Alternatively, for an embodiment not shown, the hinged connection can be provided as separate tabs, each of which can be adhered or otherwise secured or attached to appropriate inner surfaces of the upper outer lid portion and outer body portion; or as separate ring-type spiral-type connectors that extend through perforations located in corresponding regions of the lower back wall of the lid and the upper back wall of the body portion. The lid most preferably is adapted to cooperate with the body portion, and hence, act to cover the top region of the body portion (e.g., the lid can fit over the top region of the body portion, and can be maintained in place, such as by friction fit between the outer face of the inner frame insert and the inner face of the side walls of the lid, such as in the manner described above), and hence, provide the container 10 in a closed configuration. The top lid 40 most preferably is movable relative to body portion 20, in order to provide a container that is in an opened position or closed configuration.
The vertical length or height 98 of a representative tab 80 is preferably at least 2 millimeters in height. Preferably, the height 98 is less than 8 millimeters. More preferably, the height of the tab is at least 4 millimeters and less than 7 millimeters. Even more preferably, the height of the tab is between 5 millimeters and 6 millimeters. Most preferably, the height of the tab is 5.5 millimeters. It has been found that with this embodiment, if the height 98 of the tab is less than 2 millimeters, then the force of deflection of the tab when the lid closes is insufficient to provide a sufficiently loud, audible click. In contrast, when the height of the tab is more than 8 millimeters, it has been found that the shoulders and lid require too much deflection to allow the tab to flex and release the lid to allow it to open without damage to the container elements.
The width of the tabs may vary. Preferably, the terminal edge of the tab should have a width of at least 4 mm to generate a sufficiently loud audible click. The proximal edge of the tab along the hinge should be at least as wide to have a hinge with sufficient strength to prevent the tabs from being torn or distorted during operation. Preferably the width of the terminal edge of the tabs is less than 12 mm to be able to have a sufficiently wide low height center portion of the front panel to define a large enough accessible opening to remove cigarettes easily from the container. More preferably, the tab has a width at least 5 mm and less than 12 mm. Even more preferably, the width of the tabs is about 7 mm. Preferably, the tab hinges are formed by the score lines 90 and 92 are perforated to provide a crisply folded hinge that retains the tabs 80 and 82 in a biased position forming an angle with the front panel 66 of less than 180 degrees, preferably, less than 150 degrees, and more preferably less than 120 degrees when the lid is open. Preferably, the tabs forms an acute angle less than 90 degrees as described above.
Referring now to
When the lid 40 is rotated from a fully closed to an open position, the top wall 54 of the lid moves up and away from the top of the shoulder 70 of the inner frame insert. The front wall 42 of the lid slides along the top of the shoulder and then lifts away. The folded over flap 50 of the front wall moves upward and slightly outwardly as the lid is rotated open. The terminal edge 51 of the front wall flap 50 is shown engaging or catching the terminal edge 81 of the tab 80. The force of the lid rotating open with edge 51 of the front wall flap 50 against the edge 81 of the tab forces the shoulder 70 slightly inwardly and correspondingly deflects the front wall 42 of the lid outwardly. The components must deflect apart inwardly and outwardly a sufficient distance equal to the height of the tab 80 such that the end 81 of the tab disengages from the edge 51 of the front wall flap 50 to allow the lid to continue moving in an opening direction. At the point where the tab edge 81 and front wall edge disengage, an audible snap or click may be discerned by the user in addition to a tactile sensory click of the components disengaging and the parts deflecting back to an original unstressed position.
When moving the lid in the opposite direction from a open position to a closed position, the terminal edge 81 of the tab 80 slides along the interior face 53 of the fold over flap 50 until the point of release as shown in
Referring now to
Components of the container can be constructed from materials of the type traditionally used for cigarette packaging manufacture. For example, the container can be constructed form resilient, durable paperboard-type material (e.g., low density solid bleached sulfate paperboard). Typically, the thickness of the paperboard-type material is in the range of about 0.010 inch to about 0.015 inch. Preferably, the thickness of paperboard-type material that is used to construct the outer body and lid portions of the container is about 0.011 inch to about 0.014 inch, preferably about 0.012 inch. Preferably, the thickness of paperboard-type material that is used to construct the inner frame insert portion of the container is the same as the body and lid portions. The thicker paperboard material provides a container with a firmer feel.
The adhesive material used to assemble the various components of the container can vary. Preferred adhesives are water-based polyvinylacetate-type adhesives. Adhesive materials useful for assembling paperboard cigarette packages will be apparent to those skilled in the art of cigarette package design and assembly.
The maximum height of each container can vary. The height of each container typically is dependent upon factors such as the lengths of the cigarettes that are contained therein. Generally, the height of each container is within the range of about 70 mm to about 130 mm. For example, for a container designed to contain 20 cigarettes, each about 99 mm in length, a representative container can have a height of about 100 mm to about 103 mm. Alternatively, for example, for a container designed to contain 20 cigarettes, each about 84 mm in length, a representative container can have a height of about 85 mm to about 89 mm.
A representative assembled container has a maximum height of about 87 mm, a width of about 67 mm, a maximum depth of about 33 mm, and a minimum depth of about 23 mm. The outer body container and the top outer lid portion each are constructed from paperboard having a thickness of about 0.012 inch. The inner frame insert is constructed from paperboard having a thickness of about 0.012 inch. A typical cigarette is about 84 mm in length and about 24.5 mm in circumference. The containers are generally rectangular in cross-sectional shape, and generally rectangular box shape in overall appearance of dimensions to contain two rows of ten cigarettes in each row, though the dimensions may vary depending on the desired number of cigarettes to be packaged in the container. Thus, such an assembled container has a height slightly greater than the smoking articles container therein, and the width of the container is preferably greater than its depth. However, the container may be constructed to resemble other nonrectangular shapes. Although the preferred container possesses vertically extending walls that extend in a virtually truly vertical direction, those vertically extending walls can be adapted so as to extend generally vertically, and hence, provide a container that can be considered to be somewhat frusto-pyramidal in shape (e.g., the side walls can extend slightly outward from top to bottom, or the side wall can extend slightly inward from top to bottom), or form other geometric shapes.
Overwrap materials can be used in association with the types of containers set forth herein. Suitable overwrap materials include polypropylene films, such as films characterized as “cellophane-type films” that traditionally have been employed for wrapping packaged cigarettes. See, also, the types of overwrap materials that are set forth in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,139,140 to Burrows et al.; and 5,542,529 to Hein, III et al., each of which is incorporated herein by reference.
The outer wrapping material assembly can be equipped with tear tape. See, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,717,017 to Sprinkel, Jr. et al.; 4,836,378 to Lephardt; 5,192,262 to Amendola et al.; 5,595,803 to May et al.; and 7,118,792 to Hewitt et al.; each of which is incorporated herein by reference. Representative types of tear tape materials suitable for use in association with other cigarette packaging materials are available from sources such as Arlin Mfg. Co., Inc. and P. P. Payne Limited.
The assembled container can be used in a variety of ways. In use, outer wrapping materials (e.g., clear, colorless polypropylene film) are removed from the assembled outer container, and those outer wrapping materials are discarded. The top lid is moved to an open position to expose the relevant wrapping materials (e.g., an optional overwrap material, and the preferred piece of embossed paper/foil laminate that overlies the ends of the cigarettes) that cover the cigarettes contained in that packet.
Although the preferred container and associated components are constructed from paperboard-types of materials, the container and other certain other associated components can be constructed from a variety of other materials. For example, those components can be constructed from composite materials, laminated materials, or the like. Alternatively, those components can be molded from plastic materials, fashioned from metal, or the like.
It is therefore intended that the foregoing detailed description be regarded as illustrative rather than limiting, and it should be understood that the following claims, including all equivalents, are intended to define the spirit and scope of this invention.