US 20080302752 A1
A beverage container for the storage of a carbonated drink comprising a container body (10) including an opening (11) and removable closure means (12) for closing the opening (11), the closure means comprising a foil (20) which provides a gas tight seal for the opening (11). The arrangement may be such that a tendency of forces acting on the foil (20) due to pressure within the container to separate the foil (20) from the container body (10) by peeling away therefrom is reduced e.g. by the provision of a collar (12A) to limit deflection of the foil (20) adjacent the bond therebetween and/or by the shape of the rim (15) of the container body (10), so the closure is capable of withstanding higher internal pressures than would otherwise be the case.
1. A beverage container for the storage of a carbonated drink comprising a container body including an opening and removable closure means for closing said opening, the closure means comprising a foil which provides a gas tight seal for said opening.
2. A beverage container as claimed in
3. A beverage container as claimed in
4. A beverage container as claimed in
5. A beverage container as claimed in
6. A beverage container as claimed in
7. A beverage container as claimed in
8. A beverage container as claimed in any preceding claim in which venting means are preferably provided to allow pressure within the container to be vented prior to complete removal of the cap and/or the foil.
9. A beverage container as claimed in
10. A beverage container as claimed in any preceding claim in which the foil is secured to a lip of the container around the mouth thereof.
11. A beverage container as claimed in any of
12. A beverage container comprising a container body including an opening and removable closure means for closing said opening, the closure means comprising a foil which seals said opening, the arrangement being such that a tendency of forces acting on the foil due to pressure within the container to separate the foil from the container by peeling away therefrom is reduced or inhibited whereby the closure is capable of withstanding higher internal pressures than would otherwise be the case.
13. A beverage container as claimed in
14. A beverage container as claimed in
15. A beverage container as claimed in
16. A beverage container as claimed in
17. A beverage container as claimed in
18. A beverage container as claimed in
19. A beverage container as claimed in any preceding claim in which the foil is secured to or laminated with a re-enforcing member which limits the extent to which the foil can deflect due to internal pressure.
20. A beverage container as claimed in any preceding claim in which the container has a lip portion of which has a curved profile, the bond between the foil and lip extending around the curve of said profile.
21. A beverage container as claimed in
22. A beverage container as claimed in any preceding claim in which the foil is bonded to an external surface of the container.
23. A beverage container as claimed in any preceding claim having an opening member for operation by a consumer arranged such that the majority of forces acting on the foil due to operation of the opening member are directed such that they have a tendency to separate the foil from the container to assist in opening the container.
24. A beverage container as claimed in
25. A beverage container as claimed in any preceding claim in which the container body has no thread or thread segments on its exterior adjacent the mouth thereof so it is uncomfortable to drink directly from the container body.
The present invention relates to beverage containers, and particularly relates to containers for supplying beverages to consumers. The invention has particular utility for the storage and supply of carbonated and other sparkling drinks, but may also be used with other types of drinks.
For many years there has been a desire among drinks suppliers and container manufacturers to provide practical wide-mouth beverage supply containers which consumers may drink from comfortably in the same manner as from a drinks glass or other drinking vessel, particularly in relation to carbonated drinks such as beers, etc. Despite the tremendous advantages that such a beverage container would provide for drinks suppliers, container manufacturers and consumers alike, no successful beverage container that fulfils these aims has yet been produced. Consequently, bottles and ring-pull cans currently remain the main practical beverage supply containers for consumers. This is because there are significant technical problems associated with wide-mouth containers to overcome, and no practical solution to the problems has successfully been devised. The present invention aims to provide a practical beverage container, which may be a wide-mouth container (although the invention is also applicable to other types of beverage container).
The present invention seeks to provide a beverage container with closure means capable of with-standing increased pressure within the container, e.g. due to the storage of carbonated or other gas containing liquids and/or elevated temperatures and/or shock loads.
A first aspect of the invention provides a beverage container for the storage of a carbonated drink comprising a container body including an opening and removable closure means for closing said opening, the closure means comprising a foil which provides a gas tight seal for said opening.
A second aspect of the invention provides a beverage container comprising a container body including an opening and removable closure means for closing said opening, the closure means comprising a foil which seals said opening, the arrangement being such that a tendency of forces acting on the foil as a result of pressure within the container to separate the foil from the container by peeling away therefrom is reduced or inhibited whereby the closure is capable of withstanding higher internal pressures than would otherwise be the case.
In some embodiments, the closure means comprises a removable holding component or cap for fitting over the foil.
If a cap is used, this preferably provides physical support for the foil, e.g. by limiting the extent to which it can be distorted by pressure increases within the container and/or by reinforcing the connection between the foil and the container. The cap may be generally circular so it lies over the perimeter of the foil around the periphery of the opening and thus assists in holding the foil in contact with the container. In some cases this may also provide sufficient obstruction to limit bowing out of the foil due to internal pressure but, preferably, the cap extends across the entire foil both to provide further obstruction to deflection of the foil, particularly at the centre thereof, but also to protect the foil against damage from physical contact with external objects which might puncture the foil and/or reduce its integrity. The cap thus strengthens and/or protects the connection of the foil with the container and provides puncture protection for the foil.
Preferably, the container has a lip around the opening to which the foil is bonded, the lip being shaped such that forces arising in the foil due to pressure within the container apply predominantly shear forces (rather than peel forces) to the bond between the foil and the lip.
The lip may be shaped so as to have a substantially flat area, extending around the opening which is inclined outwardly relative to the axis of the opening, the foil being bonded to said substantially flat area.
In a preferred arrangement, the normal to the said substantially flat area lies at an angle α to the axis of the opening, the angle a being selected in relation to the radius (R) of the opening and a maximum deflection (D) of the foil due to pressure within the container such that when the foil is subject to the maximum deflection, forces acting on the foil where it is bonded to said substantially flat surface are substantially parallel to said surface so as to apply substantially only shear forces to the bond therebetween.
The cap may be made from a range of materials but is preferably formed from a plastics material such as polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene (PE) and may be formed by injection moulding. The cap is preferably releasably secured to the container, by a snap-fit and/or by other securement means which securely hold it on the container. Means may be provided to release the cap, e.g. to make it easier to remove from the container. Venting means are also preferably provided to allow pressure within the container to be vented prior to complete removal of the cap and/or the foil. If the foil is attached to the container controlled venting may be provided as the foil is peeled off the container.
The foil may also be attached to the container around a perimeter of the opening by induction heating. Preferably, the attachment to the container, whilst being strong enough to withstand the desired level of pressure within the container, is weaker than the attachment to the cap so that upon removal of the cap, the foil is separated from the container but remains attached to and is removed with the cap.
In another arrangement, the foil may not be attached to the container but seals the opening thereof by simply being held in contact with or pressed onto the container by the cap.
References to foil herein include impervious laminates comprising one or more layers which give the foil strength and one or more layers for attaching the upper and/or lower surface of the foil to another article. Such foils are widely used in other fields. Where the foil is to be secured by induction heating, an electrically conductive layer is required. This is usually a metallic layer and most commonly a layer of aluminium. The electrically conductive layer is typically provided with one or more plastic coatings, e.g. of polyethylene, which melt when the electrically conductive layer is heated to bond the foil to an article held in contact therewith. Such foils can be bonded to both glass and plastic articles.
The foil is preferably secured to the container in a manner capable of withstanding elevated internal pressures, e.g. of 1-2 bar (as might arise if a carbonated drinks container is subject to high temperatures). As well as preventing the egress of gas, the foil also protects the container from ingress of gas, so helps prevent contamination of the beverage and prevent it becoming stale. With such a foil, the beverage container can have a shelf-life of at least 9 months (as typically required for beers and other carbonated drinks sold in containers).
The foil may also provide tamper evidence in that if the foil is intact it provides the consumer with reassurance that the product has not been tampered with or previously opened or otherwise exposed to the external atmosphere. This function is further enhanced if the cap is formed of a transparent material.
Although the foil is preferably secured to a lip of the container around the mouth thereof, it may also be recessed within the container and secured to an inner surface thereof, e.g. at a position spaced from the mouth of the container, for example 5-10 mm below the lip of the container. This may be appropriate when the cap fits within the container and the foil is provided at the lower end thereof. If the container is not filled with beverage up to the lip, it also enables the foil to be positioned nearer the surface of the beverage so as to reduce the space left above the beverage. Removal of a foil recessed within the container may also be less prone to causing spillage as the surface of the beverage is at a lower level in the container and the container can be grasped at the level of the foil, or above this level, so enabling the foil to be peeled off in a more controlled manner.
The container is typically formed of a plastics material, e.g. polyethylene terephthalate (PET), or of glass. The container may be shaped to resemble a conventional drinking vessel, e.g. a beer glass, shaped in the form of a bottle or of some other shape.
The opening of the container body preferably is a wide-mouth opening. By a “wide-mouth opening” is meant (at least in its broadest sense) an opening of a size suitable for a person to drink from the container in the same manner as from a drinks glass or similar drinking vessel. That is, in its broadest sense, the wide-mouth opening of the container (for embodiments of the invention having a wide-mouth opening) generally renders the container suitable as a drinking vessel from which a beverage supplied in the container may be conveniently drunk (in contrast to conventional narrow-necked bottles and ring-pull cans which generally are not regarded as comfortable drinking vessels). In practice, this requirement means that the diameter of the wide-mouth opening of the container will normally need to be at least 40 mm, preferably at least 45 mm, and more preferably at least 50 mm. Additionally, an excessively wide opening is generally difficult for the consumer to drink from, and thus the wide-mouth opening preferably has a diameter no greater than 150 mm, more preferably no greater than 100 mm, and especially no greater than 80 mm. A particularly preferred diameter range for the wide-mouth opening is 50 to 80 mm, and examples of particular preferred diameters included 53 mm and 63 mm.
The container may also have a narrow-mouth opening, e.g. a bottle-type opening. Such an opening may for example, have a diameter of 40 mm or less. Conventional standard bottle mouth sizes include diameters of 28 mm and 38 mm and the opening may be of this size.
The container body preferably has no thread or thread segments on its exterior. Consequently, the container body preferably is comfortable for a consumer to drink directly from the container body.
As indicated at the beginning of this specification, although the containers described herein may be used for other types of beverages, the invention is particularly suited to the storage and supply of carbonated and other sparkling drinks, for example beers, ciders, sparkling wines (including champagne), other fizzy alcoholic beverages, and non-alcoholic fizzy and sparkling beverages, including sparkling water and carbonated soft drinks or the storage of any other liquid capable of generating an elevation pressure within the container.
Other preferred and optional features will be apparent from the following description and from the subsidiary claims of the specification.
The invention also relates to the use of a beverage container of the type described for containing a carbonated beverage and to a method of sealing such a container.
The invention will now be further described, merely by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:
As indicated above, whilst a foil may be used on its own to seal a wide-mouth container it is preferably used in conjunction with closure means or a cap which protects and/or re-inforces the foil. Many different kinds of cap may be used and these may be secured to the container in different ways.
In the embodiment shown in
In the embodiment shown, the first part 12A comprises a disc-shaped upper part 13 with a skirt 14 depending from the periphery thereof. The body 10 has a radially projecting rim 15 adjacent the wide-mouth opening 11 and the skirt 14 has an internal diameter such that it can be pressed down over the projecting rim 15. The radially outer surface of the skirt 14 is provided with a screw thread 16 and the second part 12B of the cap comprises an annular member with a screw thread 17 on its internal surface for engaging with the screw thread 16 of the first part 12A. The outer surface of the second part 12B is formed, e.g. with ribs 17A and grooves 17B, so as to facilitate the application of torque thereto by a user's hand to rotate the second part 12B relative to the first part 12A when threadably engaged therewith. The second part 12B is optionally provided with a disk-shaped member 18, e.g. to carry promotional material such as a trade mark used in relation to the beverage contained within the container 10. Alternatively, this may be provided on the upper surface of the upper part 13 of the first part 12A of the cap.
The free end of the skirt 12A is provide with an inclined flange 18 the function of which will be described below.
The skirt 14 and radial projection 15 are shaped so that the first part 12A of the cap is a loose snap-fit onto the container, i.e. sufficient to retain the first part thereon but removeable upon application of a manual pulling force. In use, the second part 12B of the cap would typically be connected to the first part 12A by engaging the respective threads thereof in a first configuration. The cap comprising first and second parts 12A and 12B is then pressed onto the container so that the first part snaps over the radial projection 15 and engages an underside thereof. The skirt 14 and the underside of the radial projection 15 are preferably also provided with mutually engageably components 19A, 19B to limit rotational movement therebetween.
The second part 12B is then screwed further onto the first part 12A to a second configuration in which it biases the inclined flange 18 inwards. This secures the first part 12A more tightly under the radial projection 15 and creates a downward tension in the skirt 14 so the inner surface of the skirt 14 and/or the underside of upper part 13 of the first part 12A of the cap is pressed against the container 10. A foil 20 (see
The foil 20 preferably comprises an aluminium layer with a polymer layer on one or both faces thereof. The foil 20 may be welded, e.g. by induction heating, to the container 10 and/or to the first part 12A. Preferably, the foil is arranged to remain attached to the first part 12A and be removed therewith when the container is opened.
When it is desired to open the container, the second part 12B is partially unscrewed from the first part 12A so it is moved out of said second configuration. The second part 12B is thus no longer held in secure engagement with the container, so pressurised gas within the container can be vented between the container 10 and the foil 20 (when the foil 20 is not welded to the container but is just used as a sealing gasket). The first part 12A of the cap is, however, prevented from being blown off the container 10 due to engagement of its skirt 14 under the projection 15. In some cases, this may be a relatively loose engagement, e.g. as formed when the cap is first snapped onto the body 10 as described above, or the second part 12B may still be in a position relative to the first part 12A in which it deflects the flange 18 inwards to tighten the engagement of the skirt 14 under the projection 15.
The second part 12B is also prevented from blowing off by means of its screw threaded engagement with the first part and/or engagement of hook-like projections 17C at a bottom edge thereof with a lower part of the skirt 14 or flange 18.
After such venting has taken place, the cap (with the first and second parts 12A, 12B connected together) can be manually pulled off the container 10 by overcoming the loose snap-fit between the first part 12A and the projection 15. If necessary, the second part 12B may be unscrewed further to loosen this engagement prior to pulling the cap off the container.
The second part 12B could, if desired, be unscrewed completely and detached from the first part 12A prior to pulling off the first part 12B but, preferably, they are designed to be pulled off together whilst they are still connected to each other. Indeed, the second part 12B may be designed such that, once connected to the first part 12A, it cannot be detached therefrom, e.g. by means of a ratchet associated with the screw thread attachment therebetween.
In a preferred arrangement, the foil 20 is welded to the container body 10 so as to seal the mouth thereof. In this case, venting occurs when the foil starts to be removed or peeled from the container. Depending on the design, this may occur when the engagement of the first part 12A is loosened and/or when the cap is removed. The foil 20 is preferably also welded to the cap, e.g. to the underside of the first part 12A, so that it is removed from the container when the cap is removed therefrom. The welded connection between the foil 20 and the first part 12A is thus preferably stronger than the welded connection between the foil 20 and the container 10.
The foil 20 is preferably circular so as to cover the wide mouth 11. If desired, it may also extend over the exterior of the rim 15. If the foil is secured to the first part 12A, the foil may be of annular shape, e.g. with its outer perimeter secured to the container and its inner perimeter secured to the underside of the first part 12A, or with its underside secured to the container and its upperside secured to the underside of the first part 12A.
The second embodiment shown in
The container body has a lip 24 and the foil 22 extends over the lip 24. The cap is preferably a snap-fit plastic cap but a metal cap may also be used which can be crimped over the lip 24.
The cap 23 is shaped so as to be a snap-fit over the lip 24 of the container body 21. Alternatively, the cap 23 may be shrunk fit onto the container body 21. The foil 22 is preferably secured to the lip 24 by localised induction heating to melt a plastic layer on the underside of the foil and so weld it to the lip 24. Alternatively, or additionally, the foil 22 is crimped over the edge of the lip 24. If required, it may also be sealed to the external surface of the container. The foil is also preferably secured to the cap 23 by localised heating to melt a plastic layer on the upperside of the foil and so weld it to the underside of the cap 23.
In the illustrated embodiment, the cap 23 is provided with a tab 25 to assist in removing the cap. As shown in
Further weakened areas 27A, 27B in the shape of a V may also be provided in the cap so that lifting the tab 25 pivots a pointed section 23A of the cap into the container so as to pierce the foil 22 and so vent the container. It will be appreciated that this is similar to the action of a conventional ring-pull provided on an aluminium can. Once the container has been vented, the tab 25 is used to peel the remainder of the cap 23 and foil 22 off the container.
The weakened portion 26A, 26B, 27A, 27B may comprise reduced thickness areas of the cap 23, e.g. formed by grooves cut or moulded into the upper and/or lower surface of the cap 23.
The illustrated tab 25 is relatively narrow but other forms of tab may be provided, e.g. a wider tab extending across a greater part of the width of the cap. The weakened portions 26A, 26B may, for example, be spaced part by a greater distance, for instance by a distance greater than half the diameter of the cap 23.
The beverage container shown in
A foil 36 is provided where the lower edge of the bore seal 33 engages with a sealing ring 37 on the internal wall of the container 30. The foil 36 may be bonded to the lower edge of the bore seal 33 and/or to the sealing ring 37. This may be done when the foil is in situ but it may also be pre-bonded to either component prior to the cap being connected to the container.
The cap 32 is connected to the container by means of the screw threads 32A and 30A. Projections 32B and 30C are also provided on the cap and container respectively to act as stops which inhibit accidental unscrewing of the cap 32 until a predetermined torque is applied thereto. As the cap is screwed on, the tamper evident band snaps over the container lip 30B.
To open the container, the cap 32 is unscrewed causing the tamper evident band 35 to separate from the cap 32. The foil 36 is also lifted as the cap moves upwards so it unpeels from the sealing ring 37. The cap 32 may move to a venting position determined by the form of the screw threads 32A and 30A and/or the peeling of the foil 36 may provide controlled venting so that missiling of the cap is 32 prevented. Preferably the foil remains attached to the bore seal 33 so it is removed with the cap 32.
The container is shaped to resemble a beer glass and has a lip 110A around its opening 111. The foil has a top part 112A and skirt 112B. The cap 113 includes one or more gaps 113A in its periphery, has thread-like formations 113B on its external surface and preferably has tamper evident clips 113C attached thereto by a living hinge and carrying a projection. The collar 114 comprises threadlike formations 114B on its inner surface for engaging with the thread-like formations 113B of the cap and a recess and hole 114C for receiving each clip and projection 113C.
As shown in
To remove the closure means, the collar 114 is ‘unscrewed’ from the cap 113 and removed. The cap 113 can then be prised off the container 110, the gaps 113 making it easier to disengage the flange 113D from the lip 110A as they permit the perimeter of the cap 113 to be enlarged as it is lifted off the container 110. The thread-like formations 113B of the cap provide lips that can be lifted to help peel off the cap 113.
In the closed position, each of the flaps 113C is folded up to engage the collar 114 and is preferably then welded thereto so that when the collar 114 is twisted to remove it, the flaps 113C remain attached thereto and tear off the cap 113 along the lines of the living hinges to provide visual tamper evidence.
The collar comprises a first part 151A with a gap therein and a second part 151B which can be connected to the first part 151A to join the ends of the first part 151A. The second part 151B hooks to one end of the first part 151A and has an over-centre mechanism 151C such that when moved to the closed position it remains in this position and puts the collar 151 under tension so as to clamp it more securely about the container 152 and foil 150. As shown in
Part 151B is provided with a tab 151D which may be lifted like a conventional ring-pull to break the collar at one or more weak points 151E when it is desired to remove the collar 151 to open the container. This action may also pierce the foil 150.
In the above arrangements in which the foil is bonded to the container, the bond therebetween is strong when subject to shear forces, i.e. forces in the plane of the bond, but weak when subject to peel forces, i.e. forces out of the plane of the bond which tend to separate the foil from the container.
The second aspect of the present invention arises from the realisation that the ability of the bond to withstand forces acting on the foil as a result of pressure within the container can be improved or optimised in arrangements which reduce or inhibit the forces created by internal pressure from applying peel forces to the bond.
As pressure within the container rises, the foil tends to bow or be deflected outwards. In conventional arrangements, this changes the angle at which forces within the foil are applied to the bond with the container so tends to apply peel forces thereto whereby the foil begins to separate from the container, even as a result of relatively small increases in the internal pressure.
In the embodiments described above, this tendency is reduced when a holding component such as a cap or collar is provided which provides physical support for the foil. The cap or collar limits the extent to which the foil can be deflected by internal pressure and thus limits the change in angle of the forces applied by the foil to the bond. Alternatively, or additionally, the cap or collar may re-enforce the connection between the foil and the container by being positioned directly over the area where the foil is bonded to the container, thus inhibiting movement of the foil away from the container and/or preventing the foil in the area of the bond from deflecting to any significant extent (even if areas of the foil away from the bond are subject to significant deflection) so reducing the tendency for the foil to apply peel forces to the bond area. A collar that encircles the container and may also assist in holding the foil against the lip and/or the external surface of the container.
As mentioned above, and as shown for examples in
The lip 162 is shaped so as to have a substantially flat area 162A which is inclined outwardly relative to the axis X-X of the mouth of the container 160. In the cross-sectional view shown, a line N normal to the flat area 160A lies at an angle α to the axis X-X. The angle α can be deduced by geometry for a container having a radius R and a foil with a maximum deflection D. With R=30 mm and D=8 mm, the angle α is around 30 degrees.
The flat area 162A, of course, extends 360 degrees around the lip of the container and thus is part of the surface of a core centred on the axis X-X; the arrangement being such, that the bowed portion of the foil 161 is part of a spherical surface to which the conical surface is substantially tangential. Accordingly, as shown in
It will also be appreciated that when the foil is deflected by a distance less than the maximum D, it applies a force to the bond at a lower angle, the force having a first component parallel with the surface 160A and a second component which acts downwardly, i.e. to hold the foil in contact with the surface 160A. The arrangement is preferably such that forces applied by the foil 161 to the bond only have an upward component (which would tend to peel the foil away from the surface 160A) if the foil 161 were to deflect by more than the maximum deflection D. Such a situation may be prevented by the nature or design of the foil 161 and/or by the provision of venting means which prevents the pressure P reaching the level required to achieve this.
Alternatively, the foil 161 may be designed so that the maximum deflection D is exceeded once the pressure P reaches a certain threshold, e.g. 50 psi, to initiate venting intentionally in order to relieve the pressure P and thus avoid a catastrophic failure of the container or closure.
As shown in
Also, as shown, at least part 161A of the foil preferably overhangs the lip 162. This part 161A of the foil may thus form an opening member which may be gripped to lift the foil 161 away from the lip 162 (as shown in dotted lines in
The illustrated arrangement thus takes advantage of the bond being strong in shear for withstanding pressure within the container 160 but weak under peel forces to assist a user in opening the container 160.
The arrangement shown in
Whilst the above arrangements seek to minimise the peel force applied to the bond between the foil and the container by internal pressure, in some cases it may be sufficient merely to reduce rather than eliminate such peel forces. If the foil applies a force F at an angle θ to the plane of the bond, this comprises a shear component of F cos θ and a peel component of F sin θ. In known arrangements, θ may be 45 degrees or more so the peel force component exceeds the shear component. In some cases, it may be sufficient to reduce θ to less than 45 degrees so that the peel force component is less than the shear force component (although it would be preferred to minimise the angle θ).
It will also be appreciated that instead of a flat surface 162A as described above, a downwardly curving surface may be used. A radially inner portion of the bond surface (but not necessarily the inner most portion of the bond) should be orientated such that the peel forces applied thereto by the foil at the maximum deflection D are smaller than the shear forces applied thereto (and preferably as small as possible). Radially outer portions of the bonded area may, however, curve downward, e.g. as shown in
In addition to the above, the foil may be constructed so as to reduce the mount by which it deflects under a given internal pressure. This may be achieved, for example, by suitable choice of materials for a laminate foil. In particular, if one layer of the laminate is more flexible or stretchable in one direction compared to a perpendicular direction, a crossed-laminate may be used, i.e. in which two such layers are orientated in different directions (preferably perpendicular to each other).