US 20090021026 A1
An easy to open tamper evident band for a food container and, in particular, an easy to open tamper evident band with a pull tab extending past a seam and a perforation on the band for a frozen food container. The band withstands freezing storage temperatures and minimizes breakage of the band during freezing, storage, and transportation conditions while providing an easy way to open the band. The band is placed around the perimeter of the container and two end portions are sealed together at a seam, where one end portion extends past the seam and the other end portion to form a flap or pull-tab. The band also contains a perforation located between the seam and an end portion.
1. A tamper evident seal for a container having an easy-open pull tab comprising:
a band that is wrapped around a perimeter of a container rim, the band having a first end portion and a second end portion;
the first end portion overlaps the second end portion, and the second end portion is sealed to the band along a seam spaced apart from the first end portion;
a perforation adjacent the seam; and
the first end extends past the seam and past the second end to form the pull tab.
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15. A method of removing a tamper evident seal on a container comprising:
grasping a tab at an edge of a first end portion, wherein the first end portion overlaps a second end portion of a band positioned around a perimeter of the container and the second end portion is sealed to the band along a seam spaced from the first end portion; and
pulling the tab to break the band at one of a perforation or the seam.
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20. A tamper evident band for a freezer container having an easy-open pull tab comprising:
the band being wrapped around a perimeter of a container rim, the container rim comprising a lip of a lid and a portion of a base adjacent the lid;
the band having a first end portion and a second end portion, the first end portion overlapping the second end portion;
the second end portion is sealed to the band along a seam spaced apart from the first end portion, the first end portion extending past the seam to form the pull tab; and
a perforated line positioned between the seam and the first end portion.
An easy to open, tamper evident band for a food container and, in particular, an easy to open, tamper evident band with a pull tab.
Food containers are often packaged with some type of tamper evident seal or band. These bands can also aid in keeping the container together prior to a consumer purchasing the product. One common tamper evident seal is to use a band or plastic strip that is wrapped around the outer rim of a container. The tamper evident band is wrapped around the edge of the container lid and an upper portion of the container base. The band is held together by a seam that is typically placed between an inner surface edge of an outer layer and an inner layer, forming a continuous band around the container rim such that the lid and base cannot be separated without first removing the tamper evident band or breaking its seal around the container rim. This feature of the band provides the visual indication necessary to show if the product has been tampered with and already opened.
One drawback of using the tamper evident band is that it can prove difficult for the consumer to open. The overlapping ends of the tamper evident band are often sealed together at a seam such that the band forms one continuous ring or band around the container rim, without any flap or loose end to grab. In order for the consumer to open the band, the consumer must try to break through the band, either by hand or with the aid of an instrument that can cut through the band or rip through it.
As a result, some tamper evident bands have been manufactured with features to aid in the removal of the bands. One such feature is placing a perforation through the band so it spans from a top edge to a bottom edge, to provide an easy tear point. One problem with perforations, however, has been that the perforation can be difficult to separate easily since the consumer may attempt to grasp a section of the band adjacent to the perforation and try to begin tearing through the perforation.
Another problem with the typical perforated band is that it has a high breakage rate during storage and transportation conditions. The perforated band also has problems withstanding freezing temperatures during storage, such as temperatures as low as about −5° F. The freezing temperatures can affect the durability of the perforation and often the typical perforated band can begin to separate at these colder temperatures and to break apart along the perforation. Thus, the typical perforated band does not stand up well under these cold conditions and the integrity of the tamper evident band can be compromised.
A number of other variations of the single perforation band have also been tried, but have had similar problems. For example, double perforations or a tear tape with a perforation have been used but also with the high breakage rates associated with the single perforation band. Another design consists of a seam with a small notch spaced from the seam; however, this design also can have a large breakage rate and can also prove to be difficult to open.
The integrity of most tamper evident bands does not hold up well to low temperatures and does not often hold up to storage and transportation conditions. While the containers are being shipped they often bounce around in the cartons or crates that they are packaged in, as well as within the vehicle used for transportation. During the movements endured during transport, the tamper evident bands can break.
A tamper evident band for a food container is provided that minimizes or avoids breakage of the band during transportation and storage at freezing temperatures and provides a pull tab extending past the seam for an easy to open feature. A strip of a tamper evident band is placed around a rim of the food container where two end portions are sealed together at a seam. One of the end portions overlaps the other to extend past this seam and functions as a pull tab for an easy to open feature. The pull tab may provide extra material which covers and protects the seam, and a perforation, if used, to protect it from breakage and to help the band remain intact. The pull tab extending past the seam is configured to withstand freezing storage temperatures and minimize or avoid breakage of the band during freezing and transportation, while providing an easy way to open the band.
The pull tab may have a free-standing end or the end may be temporarily held in place by an adhesive, which can be easily overcome to lift up the pull-tab and pull to separate the band. The band may also include a perforation adjacent the seam to aid in opening. The perforation may be attached to the outer layer of the band by a light adhesive. The overlapping end of the pull tab can further protect the perforation by covering it and making it less susceptible to breakage.
An easy open tamper evident band for a food container and, in particular, an easy open tamper evident band for a frozen food container having a pull tab used to aid in opening, is disclosed herein and illustrated in
The overlapping portions of the first and second end portions of the band 20 are sealed at a seam 24 to form a ring around a perimeter of the container 10. The band 20 can be shrink-wrapped around the container 10. The seam 24 can be positioned at an edge portion of the inner end portion 18 and spaced from the outer end portion 16, thus creating a free flap or pull tab 22, as shown in
The pull tab 22 can be a free-standing pull-tab, as illustrated in
The band 20 may further include a perforation 26 adjacent the seam 24 to further aid in removing and tearing the band 20. The perforation 26 is preferably located between the seam 24 and the outer end portion 16, and may be located closer to the seam 24 than the outer end portion 16. Furthermore, the perforation 26 can be located on the inner portion 20 a of the band 20 so that when it is torn apart, it tears the band 20 into two pieces. Additionally, the perforation 26 can also contain an adhesive or light tack glue, that holds it in place against the outer band 20 b. The perforation 26 may take any shape but preferably is a line and may span the entire height of the band 20, from the upper edge adjacent the lid 14 to the lower edge adjacent the base 12. The perforation 26 generally aids in directing the direction of the tear through the band 20 upon opening and helps to open or separate the band 20, allowing the inner layer and the outer layer of the band 20 to separate along the perforation 26 instead of or in addition to separating at the seam 24. Typically, if tearing from the top down (i.e., from the lid 14 area down towards the base 12 area), the band 20 will break at the perforation 26 before breaking at the seam 24 due to a directional change in material as it goes over a skirt of the container 10, which may require more force. However, if tearing from the bottom up (i.e., from the base 12 area upwards towards the lid 14 area), there is no directional change in the material, so the consumer can pull on the extra material and it will usually break at the seam 24. Regardless of what tearing direction is used, the perforation 26 enables a consumer to use less force than tearing a band without a perforation and thus makes the opening of the band 20 much easier. Furthermore, the extra material of the first end 16 overlapping the second end 18 also overlaps the perforation 26, if one is present, and acts as a cover to protect the perforation 26 making it less susceptible to breakage.
The band 20 may optionally have a visual demarcation adjacent the outer edge of the tab 22 and located on the inner portion 20 a of the band 20. The visual demarcation aids in highlighting the location of the tab 22, since typically the band 20 will be made of a transparent material. The visual demarcation may be a line that is generally parallel to the outer edge of the first end portion 16 and may further be a colored line, such as a red-striped line, for example. In addition to the visual demarcation, the band 20 may also optionally contain other features such as a visual indicator to further highlight the existence of the visual demarcation and the tab 22. A visual indicator may consist of a series of arrows, for example, which point to the visual demarcation.
The band 20 is typically wide enough such that it can be positioned about a lip of the lid 14 overlapping onto an upper portion of the base 12 adjacent the lid 14 in a closed state, and wraps around the entire perimeter of the container 10. The lid 14 and base 12 of the container 10 may be of any size and shape, but typically generally round shaped containers are used. The containers 10 and respective bands 20 must be able to withstand transportation and storage conditions which are required for the food product therein. Some of the storage conditions for the food and container 10 may be as low as about −5° F., over an extended period of time; the temperature being determined by the food product stored therein. Any type of food storage container or jar 10 may be used, such as a container used for the storage of a frozen dessert topping. The container may be used to store food items, such as a whipped dessert cream topping, mayonnaise, or other condiments.
The material of construction of the band 20 may be any suitable material which will provide adequate closure about the rim and withstand storage and transportation conditions of the container 10 to minimize or prevent breakage of the band 20 prior to opening the container 10. For example, the band 20 may be a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material that is heat-shrinkable, such as is available by Bonset, in Greensboro, N.C. Any size or thickness material may be used, such as a 2.5 mil thickness PVC layer. A height of about 12.5 mm to about 38 mm may be used for the band, and preferably about 34 mm is used. The length of the pull tab, i.e. the extra flap of material that overlaps the second end, can be from 6.4 mm to about 25.4 mm. The light adhesive used to keep the first end 16 attached to the inner layer 20 a or for keeping the perforation along the inner layer 20 a attached to the outer layer 20 b may be an adhesive such as AL7001 or AL7002 available from Alcoa Inc., in Pittsburgh, Pa. The diameter of the container may be about 15 cm.
When the container 10 is to be opened, the consumer can grab a hold of the pull-tab 22, either by grasping its free-standing end or by separating it from the light glue keeping it tacked down to the inner portion 20 a of the band 20, and apply a force to the band 20 that is great enough to break the band 20 in order to remove it from around the container 10. If the band 20 consists of only a seam 24, then the force applied should be great enough to overcome the seal at the seam 24 to separate the band 20 and to tear it off of the container 10. If the band 20 also has a perforation 26, then the force applied should be great enough to overcome at least one of the seal at the seam 24 or the perforation 26.
A variety of methods for applying the band 20 to the container 10 described herein can be utilized. For example, the band 20 can be presealed to itself by a band/film supplier, thus already containing the seam 24. The pre-sealed band film can be supplied on a roll having a “lay-flat” width of about 245 mm, before cutting the roll. The pre-formed band film can then be sent through standard bonding equipment, such as is provided by American Fuji Seal, in Fairfield, N.J. As the band film goes through the equipment, a mandrel can open the film and place it on the container 10 and a blade can cut the band film such that the height of the band film about the container 10 is about 34 mm. The container 10 with the band film placed around it can then receive a blast of heat to preshrink the band film around the container 10, followed by the container 10 being passed through a heat tunnel that shrinks the band down even more about the container lid 14 and base 12, such that it fits tightly about the container 10.
The breakage rates of a variety of different bands were tested to determine which design band had the lowest breakage rate. The different bands were produced and placed around similar shaped containers. Each container underwent a six-sided drop from a height of about 24 inches at 0° F. A six-sided drop consisted of dropping each container a total of six times on six different sides of the container from the specified height. Each container was then manually inspected to see if there were any breaks or tears in the band. A control band was used that consisted of a single seam 224, as depicted in
The pull tab version of the band (designated as “Pull Tab with Seam”) had a breakage rate of about 2% and performed the closest to the control in that its breakage rate was right around the range of the control band, which was desired. The next closest band in terms of performance, was the sealed film extension, however, this band can be difficult to open and does not have an easy to open feature. From the foregoing, it is apparent that the pull tab with seam had reduced breakage in combination with an easy to open feature in the form of the tab 22.
From the foregoing, it will be appreciated an easy open tamper evident band for a food container is provided that allows for easy removal of the band and where the band can withstand transportation and cold temperatures. However, the disclosure is not limited to the aspects and embodiments described hereinabove, or to any particular embodiments. Various modifications to the easy-open tamper evident band can result in substantially the same band.