US 20090188826 A1
A color-coded packaging system is provided where a set of different colors are selected with each color designated to signify a varying feature of a product such as a dimensions of a pouch for receiving instruments for sterilization. Printed information or indicia printed on that pouch are printed in a colored ink designating the size of that pouch. Multiple pouches of the same size are packaged in boxes which have information or indicia printed thereon in the same color so that the size of box contents can be readily determined by the color of the printing thereon. The storage area can also include designated color coded areas for placement of like colored boxes. The color coding of the storage area, the boxes and the content of boxes provides for easy selection of a desired product as a means for a quick visual inventory.
1. A color coded packaging system comprising multiple duplicate products stored in single box, the multiple duplicate products being supplied in various different sizes, wherein each product of the same size includes on a visible surface thereof a specific color representative of a feature of that product, the specific color also being prominently displayed on the box so that the contents of the box can be determined by observing the color on the box said color being one of the colors in a color coding system, each color in the color coding system designating a specific variable feature of the contents of the box.
2. The color coded packaging system of
3. A method for recognition of the size of a disposable pouch without reading a printed size description or measuring the pouch wherein pouches are available in multiple sizes and each of the multiple sized pouches comprises at least one surface formed from a sheet of a printable material comprising:
establishing a color coding system comprising multiple different colors whereby a particular color or shade of color is designated to represent a specific sized pouch, and
using ink of the particular color or shade designated to represent a specific sized pouch, information or indicia is printed on the printable material surface of said pouch.
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9. A color coded packaging system for labeling various differently dimensioned pouches so that an observer can distinguish between the various different sized pouches by observing a color printed thereon, said color being one of multiple colors in a color coding system, each color in the color coding system designating one or more specific dimensions of the pouch, comprising:
a packaging system comprising multiple different sized pouches and multiple different sized boxes, each of the different sized boxes containing multiple same-sized pouches
wherein each pouch of the same size includes on a visible surface thereof a specific color representative of one or more dimensions of that pouch, said specific color selected from the color coding system, that specific color also being displayed in a visible location on the box containing multiple same sized pouches so that the contents of each box can be determined by observing the color displayed on the box.
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14. The color coded packaging system of
The present disclosure is directed to a system for storing multiple samples of various products, all of which have a feature or function which is similar but which each have at least one feature that is different, such as size. The system includes indicia on the product or the product packaging for readily identifying the nature of the product or that different feature or function of each of the stored products from a distance. More particularly, all of the packages having the same feature, and all of the containers holding the multiple packages with the same feature will have, in a readily visible location, a colored or other type of indicia printed thereon that is correlated to the variable feature. More specifically, in one intended use of the system, pouches used for packaging medical instruments are color coded. A user familiar with the color codes, upon viewing a pouch or a storage shelf containing multiple different size pouches, can readily locate a pouch of a specific size, or for a specific use, or fabricated from a specific material and then select the desired pouch for an intended purpose solely by viewing the one or more colors printed on the pouch or boxes of pouches.
Numerous medical instruments are sterilized and reused. These instruments are typically cleaned, inserted into a sealable pouch and then sterilized. In dental offices for example, instruments are gathered after use, cleaned, and packaged in sterilizable pouches. The pouches are then sealed and subjected to a sterilizing environment such as an autoclave wherein steam or high temperature water vapor is used to sterilize the instruments. Alternatively, the pouch-enclosed instruments can be subjected to other sterilization techniques such as a sterilizing gas, for example, ethylene oxide, or exposure to radiation or UV light. The instruments are then stored in the sealed pouches for later use.
Typical sterilizing pouches are formed of two layers of sheet materials printed with identifying brand names and other information on an outward face. These pouches are available in numerous different widths and lengths and may also have different internal volumes by being formed with pleats or gussets. Still further, the pouch may be formed from front and back sheets of a paper or plastic material where at least on sheet or portion thereof is permeable to the sterilant but the sealed pouch is impermeable to bacterial or other contaminants. Examples of suitable materials are cellulosic papers, sheets formed from plastic fibers or fibrillated plastics, such as TYVEK® or clear impervious plastic films.
In typical embodiments, the pouch comprises first and second sheet material walls, the periphery of the walls being joined to define the pouch. One of the sheet material walls is preferably transparent and water vapor impervious, and one of said walls is preferably cellulosic and water vapor and sterilization gas pervious. The joinder of the walls defines a perimetrical seal about a partially closed volume within which the instruments are placed for sterilization. The pouch can also have a flap on one of the walls arranged to overlie the other of the walls in sealed relation to fully enclose the volume. Typically the two sheets are joined by heat sealing. However, if the pouch includes the flap a medically acceptable adhesive, which is unaffected by the sterilization process, can be applied to the flap so that the pouch seals are provided by both heat sealing and adhesives.
Multiple pouches (for example 100, 200, 500 etc.) of the same size are provided in a shelf pack or box. The user will typically order multiple shelf packages of the same size pouch as well as multiple packages of the other available sizes of pouches. For example, the user may purchase several packages of each of the 8-12 different sized pouches that may be available. This means that a working supply of pouches may comprise 50-100 boxes, each box containing 100 or more of a specific size. When these are all stored stacked on shelving it can be difficult to readily locate the desired size pouch for use in packaging the instruments and it may be necessary to handle multiple boxes and read the label on the face of the box to determine its contents. Further, while the identification of the contents of the box may be printed on the end flap, which is visible when stacked, to allow easy access to the contents of the box the end flap is typically removed from the box or at least folded out of view. To further add to the problem of locating the correct pouches, a further set of pouches may have a different use. For example they may be constricted of materials particularly chosen for autoclaving, ethylene oxide sterilization or other sterilization techniques such as radiation or UV exposure. Still further, in a facility with multiple physicians or different departments (i.e., surgery, radiology, pediatrics, etc.) each physician or each department may desire that their supply of pouches is segregated. This requires separate storage arrangements or some means to distinguish the various different pouch inventories.
Accordingly, there is a need for an easy means to segregate, label, discriminate and select similar products which have at least one feature, characteristic or function which is different when those similar products are all stored in the same storage area.
A color-coded packaging system is provided where a set of different colors are selected with each color designated to signify a varying feature. For example, pouches for packaging instruments for sterilization are available in different sizes to accommodate different sized contents. A specific color is assigned to each sized pouch and information and indicia printed on that pouch is printed in a colored ink designating the size of that pouch. Multiple pouches of the same size are packaged in boxes which have information or indicia printed thereon in the same color so that the size of box contents can be readily determined by the color of the printing thereon. Both the pouch and the box can also have printing in a second color, selected from a second color coding system, to designate a second feature of the pouch. The storage area can also include designated color coded areas for placement of like colored boxes. The color coding of the storage area, the boxes and the content of boxes provides for easy selection of a desired product as a means for a quick visual inventory.
The invention will be further described as to an illustrative embodiments in conjunction with the attached drawings in which:
Printed on the first sheet 12 in various locations 24, 26, 28, which may be visible through the transparent second sheet 14 or alternatively printed on the lower surface of the first sheet, are various different pieces of information such as the manufacturer's name, trademark, various certification marks, a specified use of the pouch or its intended contents and the pouch product code, dimensions and other characteristics. The printing locations identified in
The color coding allows one familiar with the coding system, upon viewing the colored printing on the first or lower sheet 12, to immediately know the size of the pouch. For example if the first color 30 used for the printing is red the pouch is 3.5″×5.25″. As an added feature, the first color 30 is also applied on the first sheet at the corners 32 of the initially sealed lower end 34 of the pouch so that it can be observed by viewing the initially sealed lower end 34 of the pouch 10. Colored left and right rectangles 36, 38 on the pouch sealed end are merely representative locations and other locations or combinations of locations on the sealed lower end 34, such as a solid stripe or a series of rectangles across the lower end of the pouch 10 can be utilized. The purpose of this feature is explained below.
Further, if the packaging includes a second series of color coding (i.e., the second color 50) that color can also appear on the end flap 60.
While the coded packaging system has been illustrated by the use of different colors to designate different sized products packaged in similar types of boxes 40 the system can also utilize other designation systems such as shades of grey or different types of colored or black and white cross hatching. Also, while a specific color, for example green, may be used to designate a specific size product, different shades of that color (light green, forest green, etc.) can be used to designate other features or characteristics of the product. For example, in the coding system set forth above brown designates a 5.25×12.0 pouch. A dark, chocolate brown could designate a flat pouch and a light brown or tan could designate the same size pouch with pleats or gussets and thus expandable to hold a greater volume. Also while the preferred embodiment designates a pouch of a particular length and width, a first color can be used to designate a length and a second color can designate a width. As a still further alternative a set of colors could designate a series of dimensions (a different color for each of 1 inch, 2 inch, 3 inch, etc.) and then the same color code could be used to designate the dimensions for both the length and width. For example if red designates a 3 inch dimension and green designates a 6 inch dimension a red/green combination would designate a 3×6 pouch, a green/red combination would designate a 6×3 pouch and a green/green combination would designate a 6×6 pouch.