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Publication numberUS20100155292 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/352,478
Publication dateJun 24, 2010
Filing dateJan 12, 2009
Priority dateDec 18, 2008
Also published asCA2746149A1, CN102256874A, EP2376330A1, US20110284534, US20120318703, WO2010070331A1
Publication number12352478, 352478, US 2010/0155292 A1, US 2010/155292 A1, US 20100155292 A1, US 20100155292A1, US 2010155292 A1, US 2010155292A1, US-A1-20100155292, US-A1-2010155292, US2010/0155292A1, US2010/155292A1, US20100155292 A1, US20100155292A1, US2010155292 A1, US2010155292A1
InventorsJohn Fell, Barry Frizell, Wolfgang Zimmerer
Original AssigneeInnovia Films Limited
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Naked collation package
US 20100155292 A1
Abstract
A naked collation package comprising a plurality of individual units laid end-to-end or side-by-side to form a unit row comprising at least one interface between a neighbouring pair of individual units in the unit row, the unit row being overwrapped with a sheet of polymeric film having a length and a width, the length of the sheet being sufficient to envelop the unit row with sufficient overlap between the ends of the sheet to provide an overlap region for providing a girth seal along at least part of the length of the unit row, the sheet being sealed to itself in that region to provide the girth seal, and the sheet being provided along its length, or part or parts of it, with a line of weakness positioned in substantial register with the interface.
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Claims(14)
1. A naked collation package comprising:
a plurality of individual units laid end-to-end or side-by-side to form a unit row comprising at least one interface between a neighbouring pair of individual units in the unit row;
the unit row being overwrapped with a sheet of polymeric film having a length and a width;
the length of the sheet being sufficient to envelop the unit row with sufficient overlap between the ends of the sheet to provide an overlap region for providing a girth seal along at least part of the length of the unit row, the sheet being sealed to itself in that region to provide the girth seal;
the width of the sheet being longer than the unit row to provide an envelope seal region in at least one end of the unit row so that the wrapped and girth-sealed sheet is able to fold over and seal to itself at the at least one end of the unit row to provide an envelope seal, the sheet being folded and sealed to itself in that region to provide the envelope seal; and
the sheet being provided along its length, or part or parts of it, with a line of weakness positioned in substantial register with the interface,
wherein the line of weakness is an oscillating line of weakness propagating sequentially above and below a longitudinal axis running along a length of the oscillating line of weakness through a centre thereof.
2. A naked collation package according to claim 1, wherein flexing the package in the region of the interface causes an individual unit or group of units to be snapped off from the remainder of the package whilst leaving the remainder of the package substantially intact.
3. A naked collation package according to claim 1, further comprising a plurality of interfaces between neighbouring pairs of individual units.
4. A naked collation package according to claim 3 comprising a plurality of lines of weakness along the length of the sheet; each line of weakness positioned in substantial register with a respective interface.
5. A naked collation package according to claim 1, wherein the oscillating line of weakness comprises a sinusoidal profile.
6. A naked collation package according to claim 1, wherein the oscillating line of weakness comprises a zigzag line.
7. A naked collation package comprising:
a plurality of individual units laid end-to-end or side-by-side to form a unit row comprising at least one interface between a neighbouring pair of individual units in the unit row;
the unit row being overwrapped with a sheet of polymeric film having a length and a width;
the length of the sheet being sufficient to envelop the unit row with sufficient overlap between the ends of the sheet to provide an overlap region for providing a girth seal along at least part of the length of the unit row, the sheet being sealed to itself in that region to provide the girth seal;
the width of the sheet being not substantially longer than the unit row so that the wrapped and girth-sealed sheet forms an open-ended sleeve around the unit row; and
the sheet being provided along its length, or part or parts of it, with a line of weakness positioned in substantial register with the interface,
wherein the line of weakness is an oscillating line of weakness propagating sequentially above and below a longitudinal axis running along a length of the oscillating line of weakness through a centre thereof.
8. A naked collation package according to claim 7, wherein flexing the package in the region of the interface causes an individual unit or group of units to be snapped off from the remainder of the package whilst leaving the remainder of the package substantially intact.
9. A naked collation package according to claim 7, further comprising a plurality of interfaces between neighbouring pairs of individual units.
10. A naked collation package according to claim 9 comprising a plurality of lines of weakness along the length of the sheet; each line of weakness positioned in substantial register with a respective interface.
11. A naked collation package according to claim 7, wherein the oscillating line of weakness comprises a sinusoidal profile.
12. A naked collation package according to claim 7, wherein the oscillating line of weakness comprises a zigzag line.
13. A process for the production of a naked collation package, the process comprising the steps of:
providing a plurality of individual units laid end-to-end or side-by-side to form a unit row comprising at least one interface between a neighbouring pair of individual units in the unit row;
providing a sheet of polymeric film having a length and a width; the length of the sheet being sufficient to envelop the unit row with sufficient overlap between the ends of the sheet to provide an overlap region for providing a girth seal along at least part of the length of the unit row; and the width of the sheet being longer than the unit row to provide an envelope seal region in at least one end of the unit row;
providing along the length of the film an oscillating line of weakness propagating sequentially above and below a longitudinal axis running along a length of the oscillating line of weakness through a centre thereof;
registering the oscillating line of weakness with the interface;
wrapping the length of the film around the unit row and sealing the film to itself to provide a girth seal; and
folding and sealing the film to itself in the envelope seal region to provide the envelope seal.
14. A process for the production of a naked collation package, the process comprising the steps of:
providing a plurality of individual units laid end-to-end or side-by-side to form a unit row comprising at least one interface between a neighbouring pair of individual units in the unit row;
providing a sheet of polymeric film having a length and a width; the length of the sheet being sufficient to envelop the unit row with sufficient overlap between the ends of the sheet to provide an overlap region for providing a girth seal along at least part of the length of the unit row; and the width of the sheet being not substantially longer than the unit row;
providing along the length of the film an oscillating line of weakness propagating sequentially above and below a longitudinal axis running along a length of the oscillating line of weakness through a centre thereof;
registering the oscillating line of weakness with the interface; and
wrapping the length of the film around the unit row and sealing the film to itself to provide an open-ended girth-sealed sleeve around the unit row.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority to Great Britain Patent Application No. GB 0823072.4, filed Dec. 18, 2008, all of which is incorporated by reference in its entirety herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

Embodiments of the present invention relate to a naked collation package.

2. Description of the Related Art

Naked collation refers to a packaging application in which a plurality of individual units (generally of an article of commerce) are collated and then wrapped directly (without any intermediate packaging such as a carton or tube) in a packaging film, which holds the collated units together in the resulting naked collation package. Naked collation provides a number of benefits, including reducing the quantity of packaging material (at least by avoiding the need for any intermediate packaging) and, in the case of a transparent packaging film, allowing the individual units to be visible.

The packaging technique of naked collation is particularly useful in connection with the packaging of relatively rigid articles and/or articles which are not especially susceptible to flexing, for example, cigarette cartons, boxed pharmaceutical products, playing cards, packaged perfumes and cosmetics, CD cases, DVD cases, and the like. Although they need not be, commonly such articles will themselves be unit wrapped with an overwrap film so that once removed from the naked collation package they are then ready for display on the shelves of a retailer or for use by a consumer, for example. The problem of avoiding sealing the exterior film of the naked collation package to the unit wrap film is addressed for example in our co-pending application PCT/GB2008/050662.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Several embodiments of the present invention are concerned with removing the individual units from the naked collation package in a manner which is easy to effect and which preferably allows individual units or groups, bundles, or bunches of units to be removed from the naked collation package without compromising the integrity of the remainder of the package. In several embodiments, scored lines are applied to a film at predetermined or desired positions to coincide with the edges (or desired locations) of packs in the collation bundles. This feature, in some embodiments, gives localised weakening of the film and offers users the benefits of snapping the film at the scored lines to remove one or more packs at a time, whilst the remainder of the bundle stays collated. As described below, the scored lines may be straight, curved, or wavy.

Commonly in naked collation, as in many other types of packaging, a shrink film is employed to ensure a tight wrap. Whether a tight wrap, desirable from both a practical and an aesthetic point of view, is achieved by means of a shrink film or by other means, end users or retailers often experience difficulties in removing individual units or groups thereof from the naked collation package as a whole. This is because the film can be so tightly wrapped around the collated units that the user is unable to gain any substantial purchase on the film in order to tear and remove the exterior film. The user may resort to using a sharp implement or brute force to assist with the opening process, but this may then cause damage to the individual units, or may cause the whole package to be compromised, thereby releasing and spilling all of the individual units, even though the intention of the user was to remove only one, or some, of the units from the package.

In a naked collation package individual units (such as unit-wrapped cigarette cartons by way of example) are generally stacked, laid end-to-end, and then wrapped in a sheet of naked collation film. Stack heights vary from a single unit stack to double or triple (or more) unit stacks. Pack lengths may be from two to about twenty, or more, but will often be in the range of from about three to ten units in length. Pack lengths of from about four to about seven are common in the field of nakedly collated cigarette cartons, for example.

In a naked collation package the risk of damage to the wrapped article by the use for example of sharp implements to pierce the overwrap film is acute; and it would be desirable to provide a ready means of opening such packs manually. It would also be desirable to provide a means for separating individual units, or groups of units, from the main body of the pack whilst leaving the remaining wrapped units in the pack substantially intact.

According to one embodiment of the present invention there is provided a naked collation package comprising a plurality of individual units laid end-to-end or side-by-side (or other formation) to form a unit row comprising at least one interface between a neighbouring pair of individual units in the unit row. The unit row can be overwrapped with a sheet of polymeric film having a length and a width. The length of the sheet can be sufficient to envelop the unit row with sufficient overlap between the ends of the sheet to provide an overlap region for providing a girth seal along at least part of the length of the unit row. The sheet can be sealed to itself in that overlap region to provide the girth seal. The width of the sheet can be longer than the unit row to provide an envelope seal region in at least one end of the unit row so that the wrapped and girth-sealed sheet is able to fold over and seal to itself at the at least one end of the unit row to provide an envelope seal. The sheet can be folded and sealed to itself in that region to provide the envelope seal. The sheet can have provided along its length, or part or parts of it, with a line of weakness positioned in substantial register with the interface.

In one embodiment, a naked collation package is configured such that flexing the package in the region of the interface causes an individual unit or group of units to be snapped off from the remainder of the package whilst leaving the remainder of the package substantially intact. In one embodiment, a naked collation package also includes a plurality of interfaces between neighbouring pairs of individual units. In one embodiment, a naked collation package also includes a plurality of lines of weakness along the length of the sheet; each line of weakness positioned in substantial register with a respective interface. In one embodiment, the line of weakness is a substantially straight line of weakness. In another embodiment, the line of weakness is an oscillating line of weakness.

It would further be desirable to reduce the quantity of overwrap film used in a naked collation packet. Thus, also provided in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention is a naked collation package comprising a plurality of individual units laid end-to-end or side-by-side to form a unit row comprising at least one interface between a neighbouring pair of individual units in the unit row. The unit row can be overwrapped with a sheet of polymeric film having a length and a width. The length of the sheet can be sufficient to envelop the unit row with sufficient overlap between the ends of the sheet to provide an overlap region for providing a girth seal along at least part of the length of the unit row. The sheet can be sealed to itself in that overlap region to provide the girth seal. The width of the sheet is not substantially longer than the unit row so that the wrapped and girth-sealed sheet forms an open-ended sleeve around the unit row. The sheet can have provided along its length, or part or parts of it, with a line of weakness positioned in substantial register with the interface.

The naked collation packages of the invention provide the advantage that by flexing the package in the region of the interface, an individual unit or group of units can be snapped off from the remainder of the package whilst leaving the remainder of the package substantially intact.

The unit row comprises at least two individual units, but may comprise at least three or at least about four or five individual units, for example. The unit row may be a single unit in height, or may be double or triple-stacked, for example.

When the unit row comprised more than two individual units, there will be a corresponding plurality of interfaces between neighbouring pairs of individual units. In these circumstances there is preferably provided a plurality of lines of weakness along the length of the sheet; each line of weakness positioned in substantial register with a respective interface.

The, or each, line of weakness may be provided in the sheet by any suitable means such as ablation, incision or perforation for example.

Typically, the sheet is a polymeric film having a machine direction and a transverse direction. Preferably in this case the length of the sheet is in the machine direction and the or each line of weakness is provided by feeding the sheet in web form to a suitable ablation, incision or perforation tool so that the or each line of weakness is provided in the machine direction.

Preferably, the film is a shrink film so that after or during sealing of the film to itself around the unit row, the film can be shrunk to form a tight fit.

Preferably each individual unit is of substantially the same shape and size as each other individual unit in the pack. It is also preferred that each individual unit be of substantially regular shape, and that the or each interface between neighbouring units be a substantially straight line interface.

The line of weakness provided in substantial register with an interface between neighbouring packs may be a substantially straight line of weakness. However, we have found it to be especially preferable for the line of weakness to have an oscillating pattern. For example, the line of weakness may be provided as a zigzag line or with a sinusoidal profile, for example. This allows a greater margin of error in registering the line of weakness with the interface. The line of weakness is continuous or discontinuous and may comprise a series of repeat patterns.

Preferably, the line of weakness is an oscillating line of weakness. More preferably the line of weakness is an oscillating line of weakness with a repeat unit which itself is oscillating.

By oscillating is preferably meant that the line of weakness propagates sequentially above and below a longitudinal axis running along the length of the line of weakness through the centre thereof

Also provided in accordance with one embodiment of the invention is a process for the production of a naked collation package, the process comprising the steps of:

a) providing a plurality of individual units laid end-to-end or side-by-side to form a unit row comprising at least one interface between a neighbouring pair of individual units in the unit row;

b) providing a sheet of polymeric film having a length and a width; the length of the sheet being sufficient to envelop the unit row with sufficient overlap between the ends of the sheet to provide an overlap region for providing a girth seal along at least part of the length of the unit row; and the width of the sheet being longer than the unit row to provide an envelope seal region in at least one end of the unit row;

c) providing along the length of the film a line of weakness;

d) registering the line of weakness with the interface;

e) wrapping the length of the film around the unit row and sealing the film to itself to provide a girth seal; and

f) folding and sealing the film to itself in the envelope seal region to provide the envelope seal.

One embodiment of the invention also provides a process for the production of a naked collation package, the process comprising the steps of:

a) providing a plurality of individual units laid end-to-end or side-by-side to form a unit row comprising at least one interface between a neighbouring pair of individual units in the unit row;

b) providing a sheet of polymeric film having a length and a width; the length of the sheet being sufficient to envelop the unit row with sufficient overlap between the ends of the sheet to provide an overlap region for providing a girth seal along at least part of the length of the unit row; and the width of the sheet being not substantially longer than the unit row;

c) providing along the length of the film a line of weakness;

d) registering the line of weakness with the interface; and

e) wrapping the length of the film around the unit row and sealing the film to itself to provide an open-ended girth-sealed sleeve around the unit row.

The steps identified in the processes above need not be performed in the order listed. Moreover, one or more steps may be omitted.

The films used in accordance with the present invention can be of a variety of thicknesses according to the application requirements. For example they can be from about 10 to about 240 μm thick and preferably from about 50 to about 90 μm thick. The line of weakness in the film is preferably of a narrower gauge than the rest of the film—for example 1%, 2%, 5%, 10%, 20% or 50% narrower than the bulk of the film, or the line of weakness may extend all or substantially all the way through the film.

The films used in the present invention, prior to deposition of any coating and/or skin or lamination layer may comprise any suitable polymeric filmic substrate, such as films made from biopolymers such as any of those described herein [preferably polylactic, polygalactic and/or cellulosic films (e.g. microbial and/or regenerated cellulose film)]; thermoplastic films; polymeric films (for example films comprising: polyolefins [e.g. polypropylene and/or polyethylene] polyurethanes, polyvinylhalides [e.g. PVC], polyesters [e.g. polyethylene terephthalate-PET], polyamides [e.g. nylons] and/or non-hydrocarbon polymers); and/or multilayer and/or composite sheets formed by any suitable combinations and/or mixtures of thereof Suitable filmic substrates therefore include polyolefinic films, but also polyester films, polyurethane films, cellulosic and PLA films.

The films of the present invention may consist of only one layer, or may comprise a plurality of layers. Layers when present can be combined by lamination and/or co-extrusion and/or coating and/or melt coat extrusion. Films may be otherwise treated (for example by corona discharge treatment) to improve certain characteristics of the film; printability or coating adhesion for example.

The films of the invention may comprise one or more additive materials such as: dyes; pigments, colorants; voiding agents; metallised and/or pseudo metallised coatings (e.g. aluminium); lubricants, anti-oxidants, surface-active agents, stiffening aids, gloss-improvers, prodegradants, UV attenuating materials (e.g. UV light stabilisers); sealability additives; tackifiers, anti-blocking agents, additives to improve ink adhesion and/or printability, cross-linking agents; anti-slip and/or anti-block additives and the like.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features, embodiments, and advantages of the present invention will now be described in connection with preferred embodiments of the invention, in reference to the accompanying drawings. The illustrated embodiments, however, are merely examples and are not intended to limit the invention. Embodiments of the present invention are described further hereinafter, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates in perspective a naked collation pack in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention with a substantially straight line of weakness and an envelope seal.

FIG. 2 illustrates in perspective a naked collation pack in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention with an oscillating line of weakness and an envelope seal.

FIG. 3 illustrates in perspective a naked collation pack in accordance with a third embodiment of the invention with a substantially straight line of weakness.

FIG. 4 illustrates in perspective a naked collation pack in accordance with a fourth embodiment of the invention with an oscillating line of weakness.

Throughout the figures, the same reference numerals and characters, unless otherwise stated, are used to denote like features, elements, components or portions of the illustrated embodiments. In certain instances, similar names may be used to describe similar components with different reference numerals which have certain common or similar features. Moreover, while the subject invention will now be described in detail with reference to the figures, it is done so in connection with the illustrative embodiments. It is intended that changes and modifications can be made to the described embodiments without departing from the true scope and spirit of the subject invention as defined by the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

In accordance with the present disclosure, various embodiments of naked collation packaging are provided. Some advantages of naked collation packaging over use of cartons, boxes or other packaging materials include more efficient use of materials, lighter materials, stronger materials, cheaper materials, more environmentally-friendly materials, smaller overall package size, resistance to moisture, and in some embodiments that use at least partially transparent sections of film materials, the underlying units are visible to the consumer.

In one embodiment of naked collation a shrink film is employed to ensure a tight wrap. Whether a tight wrap, desirable from both a practical and an aesthetic point of view, is achieved by means of a shrink film or by other means, end users or retailers often experience difficulties in removing individual units or groups thereof from the naked collation package as a whole. This is because the film can be so tightly wrapped around the collated units that the user is unable to gain any substantial purchase on the film in order to tear and remove the exterior film. In some instances, the film may be difficult to break open manually due to the thickness, geometry, or other characteristic of the film. In some instances, attempts to open packaging may result in injury to the hands. The user may resort to using a sharp implement or brute force to assist with the opening process, but this may then cause damage to the individual units, or may cause the whole package to be compromised, thereby releasing and spilling all of the individual units, even though the intention of the user was to remove only one, or some, of the units from the package.

In one embodiment of a naked collation package, individual units (such as unit-wrapped cigarette cartons by way of example) are generally stacked, laid end-to-end, and then wrapped in a sheet of naked collation film. Stack heights may vary from a single unit stack to double or triple (or more) unit stacks. For example, some pack lengths may be from two to about twenty, or more, but will often be in the range of from about three to ten units in length. Pack lengths of from about four to about seven are common in the field of nakedly collated cigarette cartons, for example.

In a naked collation package, the risk of damage to the wrapped article by the use for example of sharp implements to pierce the overwrap film is acute; and it would be desirable to provide a ready means of opening such packs manually. It would also be desirable to provide a means for separating individual units, or groups of units, from the main body of the pack whilst leaving the remaining wrapped units in the pack substantially intact. For example, bundles or groupings of articles or units could be removed from the overall package and remain grouped together until individual units or smaller sets of units are removed. It would also be desirable to provide a means for opening the packaging with ease, and minimizing potential injury to the person opening the packaging.

Several embodiments of the present invention are concerned with removing the individual units or consumer items from the naked collation package in a manner which is easy to effect and which preferably allows individual units or groups, bundles, or bunches of units to be removed from the naked collation package without compromising the integrity of the remainder of the package.

According to one embodiment of the present invention there is provided a naked collation package 1 comprising a plurality of individual units 2 laid end-to-end or side-by-side to form a unit row comprising at least one interface 3 between a neighbouring pair of individual units 3 in the unit row. The unit row can be overwrapped with a collation film 4. In one embodiment the collation film 4 is a sheet of polymeric film having a length and a width. The length of the sheet can be sufficient to envelop the unit row with sufficient overlap between the ends of the sheet to provide an overlap region for providing a girth seal along at least part of the length of the unit row. The sheet can be sealed to itself in that overlap region to provide the girth seal. The width of the sheet can be longer than the unit row to provide an envelope seal region in at least one end of the unit row so that the wrapped and girth-sealed sheet is able to fold over and seal to itself at the at least one end of the unit row to provide an envelope seal 5. In various embodiments, envelope seal 5 can include any number of folds in any number of orientations. The sheet can be folded and sealed to itself in that region to provide the envelope seal 5. The sheet can have provided along its length, or part or parts of it, with a line of weakness 6 in the collation film 4 positioned in substantial register with the interface 3.

In various embodiments, a line of weakness 6 can be a region with a thinner, or reduced thickness in the film 4, a series of perforations, such as dots, dashes, or other patterns which provide a guide for breaking the film 4 along a specific route or orientation along the film 4. In various embodiments the, or each, line of weakness 6 may be provided in the sheet by any suitable means such as ablation, incision or perforation for example. The film 4 can have a reduced thickness at a line of weakness 6 by applying a chemical, solvent, or heat or other means in a pattern or orientation to create the line of weakness 6.

In one embodiment, when a unit row comprises more than two individual units 2, there will be a corresponding plurality of interfaces 3 between neighbouring pairs of individual units 2. In these circumstances there is preferably provided a plurality of lines of weakness 6 along the length of the sheet; each line of weakness 6 positioned in substantial proximity or substantial register with a respective interface 3 between units 2.

In one embodiment, the sheet is a polymeric film having a machine direction and a transverse direction. In one embodiment the length of the sheet is in the machine direction and the, or each, line of weakness 6 is provided by feeding the sheet in web form to a suitable ablation, incision or perforation tool so that the, or each, line of weakness 6 is provided in the machine direction.

In one embodiment, the film is a shrink film so that after or during sealing of the film to itself around the unit row, the film can be shrunk to form a tight fit.

In one embodiment, each individual unit 2 is of substantially the same shape and size as each other individual unit(s) 2 in the pack. In one embodiment each individual unit 2 can have a substantially regular shape, and that the, or each, interface 3 between neighbouring units 2 can be a substantially straight line interface 3. In various embodiments, the line of weakness 6 can be provided in substantial register with an interface 3 between neighbouring packs, and may be a substantially straight line of weakness 6.

In various embodiments, a naked collation package 1 comprising a plurality of individual units 2 may be laid end-to-end or side-by-side to form a unit row comprising at least one interface 3 between a neighbouring pair of individual units 2 in the unit row; the unit row being overwrapped with a collation film 4. In one embodiment, the collation film 4 is a sheet of polymeric film having a length and a width; the length of the sheet being sufficient to envelop the unit row with sufficient overlap between the ends of the sheet to provide an overlap region for providing a girth seal along at least part of the length of the unit row, the sheet being sealed to itself in that region to provide the girth seal; the width of the sheet being longer than the unit row to provide an envelope seal region in at least one end of the unit row so that the wrapped and girth-sealed sheet is able to fold over and seal to itself at the at least one end of the unit row to provide an envelope seal 5, the sheet being folded and sealed to itself in that region to provide the envelope seal 5.

Referring to FIG. 1 there is shown one embodiment of a naked collation package 1 comprising ten collated individual units 2, double stacked in height and with five along the length of the unit row. Each individual unit 2 is placed side-by-side with its neighbour and with an interface 3 therebetween. Collation film 4 is wrapped around the unit row and sealed to itself by means of a girth seal (not shown, being on the underside of the package 1 as depicted). An envelope seal 5 is provided at each end of package 1, although only one such end is depicted in FIG. 1. Lines of weakness 6 in the machine direction of the film 4 are provided in substantial register with each interface 3 and, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 1 comprise a straight-line perforation in the film. In use the package 1 may be held as one end and two, four, six or eight individual units 2 may be snapped off from the other end by flexing the package 1 in the region of the appropriate interface 3. In various embodiments of naked collation packages 1, different numbers of units 2 may be configured in varying numbers of stacks, rows and/or columns, and may be temporarily held together with a collation film 4.

In one embodiment, the line of weakness has an oscillating pattern. For example, the line of weakness may be provided as a zigzag line or with a sinusoidal profile, for example. This allows a greater margin of error in registering the line of weakness with the interface. One advantage of an oscillating line of weakness is the reduction in the need for precision in aligning the interface of the units with the line of weakness. For example, in one embodiment if a substantially straight line of weakness 6 is misaligned with an interface 3 (e.g., by about 0.5 to about 1.0 mm), it may make it difficult to break the film 4, such as in one example, through flexion of the units 2 with respect to each other. In various embodiments, the line of weakness can be continuous or discontinuous and may comprise a series of repeat patterns. In one embodiment the line of weakness is an oscillating line of weakness 26. In one embodiment the line of weakness is an oscillating line of weakness with a repeat unit which itself is oscillating. By “oscillating” is preferably meant that the line of weakness propagates sequentially above and below a longitudinal axis running along the length of the line of weakness through the centre thereof An oscillation pattern according to several embodiments herein may range in width (e.g., amplitude from a center line) from about 0.1 mm to about 10 mm, preferably about 0.5 mm to about 2 mm. In other embodiments, the width of the oscillation patterns may be smaller or greater to accommodate desired separation between units 2. In yet other embodiments, the width of the oscillation patterns may be smaller or greater to accommodate desired tolerance levels between the interface 3 and line of weakness 6. The widths may differ along a longitudinal axis.

Referring to FIG. 2 there is shown a naked collation package 21 with similar features to those described in relation to FIG. 1, except that the lines of weakness 26 comprise a sinusoidal-line perforation in the film.

In one embodiment, the line of weakness can include any pattern with discrete, continuous, or discontinuous patterns to make certain portions of the line of weakness easier or harder to break than other portions of the line of weakness. For example, in one embodiment corners or edges of a unit may be made easier or harder to break based on the relative strength of the line of weakness. In one embodiment, a perforated line of weakness may be made more difficult to break in a region by increasing the distance between portions of the film that are relatively thinner or increasing the distance between though holes. In one embodiment, a line of weakness may include thinning and through-pattern perforation. In one embodiment, the line of weakness may be configured with lettering, text, numbers, symbols or patterns.

In one embodiment, the quantity of overwrap film used in a naked collation packet can be reduced to save material. Thus, also provided in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention is a naked collation package 31 comprising a plurality of individual units 32 laid end-to-end or side-by-side to form a unit row comprising at least one interface 33 between a neighbouring pair of individual units in the unit row. The unit row can be overwrapped with a collation film 34. In one embodiment, the collation film 34 is a sheet of polymeric film having a length and a width. The length of the sheet can be sufficient to envelop the unit row with sufficient overlap between the ends of the sheet to provide an overlap region for providing a girth seal along at least part of the length of the unit row. The sheet can be sealed to itself in that overlap region to provide the girth seal. The width of the sheet is not substantially longer than the unit row so that the wrapped and girth-sealed sheet forms an open-ended sleeve around the unit row. The sheet can have provided along its length, or part or parts of it, with a line of weakness 36 positioned in substantial register with the interface.

In one embodiment, the naked collation packages 31 provide the advantage that by flexing the package in the region of the interface 33, an individual unit 32 or group of units 32 can be snapped off from the remainder of the package whilst leaving the remainder of the package substantially intact. In various embodiments, the unit row comprises at least two individual units 32, but may comprise at least three or at least about four or five individual units 32, for example. The unit row may be a single unit in height, or may be double or triple-stacked, for example.

Referring to FIG. 3 there is shown a naked collation package 31 comprising ten collated individual units 32, double stacked in height and with five along the length of the unit row. Each individual unit 32 is placed side-by-side with its neighbour and with an interface 33 therebetween. Collation film 34 is wrapped around the unit row and sealed to itself by means of a girth seal (not shown, being on the underside of the package 31 as depicted). The width of the film 34 is not substantially greater than the length of the unit row so that the film 34 forms an open-ended sleeve around the unit row. Lines of weakness 36 in the machine direction of the film 34 are provided in substantial register with each interface 33 and, in the embodiment shown in FIG. 3 comprise a straight-line perforation in the film. In use the package 31 may be held as one end and two, four, six or eight individual units 32 may be snapped off from the other end by flexing the package 31 in the region of the appropriate interface 33.

Referring to FIG. 4 there is shown a naked collation package 41 with similar features to those described in relation to FIG. 3, except that the lines of weakness comprise an oscillating line of weakness 46. In one embodiment, the oscillating line of weakness 46 is a sinusoidal-line perforation in the film.

In one embodiment, any of the lines of weakness disclosed can be paired in two or more parallel lines of weakness separated by a distance such that pulling on the film between the parallel lines of weakness results in a strip of film that may be used to open the package at that interface. In various embodiments, the strip can be about 0.5 cm, 1 cm, 2 cm or any width to facilitate the breaking of the package manually. Select strips can be pulled off or removed in order to remove one unit, or groups of two or more units. The user may tear a strip out in order to remove blocks or groups of units with each block or group of units retaining at least some of the collated packaging material around them to hold the grouped units together. One advantage of the strip lines of weakness is a reduction in the need for tolerances in attempting to align unit interfaces with the lines of weakness. Another advantage of the strip lines of weakness is that it provides an easy way to selectively separate the film 4 manually without needing to grasp or flex the units packaged therein.

In any of the embodiments, the films used in accordance with the present invention can be of a variety of thicknesses according to the application requirements. For example they can be from about 10 to about 240 μm thick and preferably from about 50 to about 90 μm thick. The line of weakness in the film is preferably of a narrower gauge than the rest of the film—for example 1%, 2%, 5%, 10%, 20% or 50% narrower than the bulk of the film, or the line of weakness may extend all or substantially all the way through the film.

In some embodiments, the films used in the present invention, prior to deposition of any coating and/or skin or lamination layer may comprise any suitable polymeric filmic substrate, such as films made from biopolymers such as any of those described herein such as (but not limited to) polylactic, polygalactic and/or cellulosic films (e.g. microbial and/or regenerated cellulose film); thermoplastic films; polymeric films (for example films comprising: polyolefins [e.g. polypropylene and/or polyethylene] polyurethanes, polyvinylhalides [e.g. PVC], polyesters [e.g. polyethylene terephthalate-PET], polyamides [e.g. nylons] and/or non-hydrocarbon polymers); and/or multilayer and/or composite sheets formed by any suitable combinations and/or mixtures of thereof In some embodiments, filmic substrates can include polyolefinic films, polyester films, polyurethane films, cellulosic and/or PLA films. Other materials for the film may also be used in accordance with several embodiments of the invention, including but not limited to paper coverings, laminated materials, composites, biodegradable materials, etc.

In various embodiments, the films of the present invention may consist of only one layer, or may comprise a plurality of layers. Layers when present can be combined by lamination and/or co-extrusion and/or coating and/or melt coat extrusion. Films may be otherwise treated (for example by corona discharge treatment) to improve certain characteristics of the film; printability or coating adhesion for example.

In various embodiments, the films of the invention may comprise one or more additive materials such as: dyes; pigments, colorants; voiding agents; metallised and/or pseudo metallised coatings (e.g. aluminium); lubricants, anti-oxidants, surface-active agents, stiffening aids, gloss-improvers, prodegradants, UV attenuating materials (e.g. UV light stabilisers); sealability additives; tackifiers, anti-blocking agents, additives to improve ink adhesion and/or printability, cross-linking agents; anti-slip and/or anti-block additives and the like.

Embodiments of the invention have are described above. While the structure has been described in terms of certain specific embodiments, there is no intention to limit the invention to the same. It will be understood that the foregoing is only illustrative of the principles of the invention, and that various modifications, alterations, and combinations can be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly, it is not intended that the invention be limited, except as by the appended claims.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8088848Jul 8, 2008Jan 3, 2012Innovia Films LimitedUV barrier film
US8664307Nov 30, 2011Mar 4, 2014Innovia Films LimitedUV barrier film
US8906987Jan 20, 2014Dec 9, 2014Innovia Films LimitedUV barrier film
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/738, 206/739, 53/461, 53/543
International ClassificationB65D65/28, B65D75/58, B65B35/30, B65B11/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65B61/02, B65B11/48, B65D75/585, B65D85/1072
European ClassificationB65B11/48, B65B61/02, B65D75/58E2, B65D85/10H
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 24, 2009ASAssignment
Owner name: INNOVIA FILMS LIMITED,UNITED KINGDOM
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Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:FELL, JOHN;FRIZELL, BARRY;ZIMMERER, WOLFGANG;SIGNING DATES FROM 20090223 TO 20090324;REEL/FRAME:022591/0616