US 2950029 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
T. w. wmsfEAD 2,950,029
CONTAINER Aug. 23, 1960 2 sheets-sheet 1 iled Oct. 29 1 956 INVEIJTOR v T HOMAS K. .WI/VS T 540 v SW 6% Smiles ATTORNEYS CONTAINER Thomas W. Winstead, Baltimore, Md., assignor to Hedwin Corporation, Baltimore, Md., a corporation of Maryland Filed Oct. 29, 1956, Ser. No. 618,913
6 Claims. (Cl. 222-143) The present invention relates broadly to containers and more specifically to a light weight container adapted to hold liquids, powders and semi-solids.
An object of the present invention is to provide a container which is collapsible when empty, in such a mannor as to provide a desired draft for nesting of a plurality of containers for shipping purposes.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a container having a shape which provides the greatest volume for the minimum surface area of any shape, and having symmetry about a line which is used for collapsing which is important for optimum space saving features.
Another object of the invention is to provide a container which can be used for any product requiring protection from contamination, spoilage, corrosive action or moisture and incorporating a foldable neck and pouring spout, adapted for use with any of a plurality of types of closures, such as a heat-sealable closure, a snap: cap closure and a screw-cap closure or other types known in the art.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a container having a neck which is tapered from a wide, easy to fill mouth to a narrow point at the corner of the container, preferably of cubical shape, for easy folding. The configuration of the neck maintains approximately the same cross-sectional area from the base to the outlet whereby liquids or other materials may flow readily from the container.
An additional object of the present invention is to provide a container of substantially cubical shape having a fold line in the body thereof, and a fold line in the spout to facilitate collapsing of the container for nesting purposes, and ease and correctness of folding of a spout when, for example, the container is to be inserted in an outer container or carton for strength and shipping purposes.
A still further and important object of the present invention is to provide a plastic container which is formed to shape and having ample radii at all corners to stiffen them against flexing, and the container being useable by itself or adapted to be used as an insert in an outer carton of paper or other materials, and which outer carton can serve as a shipping container.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a container having a foldable neck and pouring spout and a recess being provided in the body of the container to receive the folded neck.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a substantially cubical shaped container which is diagonally collapsible to provide the necessary draft for nesting, and in which a slight indentation is provided for defining the point of collapsibility.
An additional object of the present invention is to pro vide a container which eliminates folds or creases, except where specifically provided for, and having a shape adapted to fit the interior contour of an outer carton without folds or creases.
States Patent Other and additional advantages and features of the present invention will be more readily apparent from the following detailed description of embodiments thereof, when taken together with the accompanying drawings in which:
Fig. l is a perspective view of one embodiment of the container of the present invention;
Fig. 2 is a side elevational view of the container of Fig. 1;
Fig. 3 is a side view of the container of Fig. 1 in partially collapsed position;
Fig. 4 is a side elevational view of a plurality of collapsed and nested containers;
Fig. 5 is a side elevational view of a modified form of container;
Figs. 6, 7 and 8 are fragmentary sectional views of a heat sealable type of container closure in various stages of sealing and folding;
Figs. 9, l0 and 11 are fragmentary sectional views of a snap-on type of container closure in various stages of closing and folding; and
Figs. 12, 13 and 14 are fragmentary sectional views of a screw-type of container closure in various stages of closing and folding.
In the embodiment of the invention shown in Fig. l the container generally designated 20 is formed of two symmetrical halves '22 and 24 which are sealed together by heat sealing along a seal line 26. It will be noted that the container is substantially in the shape of a cube which has been found to be the shape which provides the greatest volume for the minimum surface area of any rectangular shape. However, an exact cube is not absolutely essential, although the symmetry about the line which is used for collapsing, as will be pointed out hereinafter, is important for optimum space saving.
The container is preferably formed of a flexible thermoplastic material such as, for example only, polyethylene which as is known has an unusual combination of properties including freedom from taste, odor, toxicity; flexibility at extremely low temperatures; low moisture-vapor transmission; resistance to chemicals, solvents, greases; and good characteristics from the tensile, impact and other physical points of view. Manifestly thermoplastic materials such as vinyls, acetates and styrenes, and others can be utilized. Additionally, if desired a rigid plastic can be used which will still maintain the advantage of light weight.
As is known, polyethylene and many other semi-rigid thermoplastics are susceptible of stress fatigue When flexed or vibrated. Ample radii are used at all corners such as indicated at 28 to stiffen the corners against flexing. Due to the semi-rigid nature of the material contemplated and the method of forming, the container may be said to be formed to shape as is a bottle in contradistinction to a bag which is normally constructed of a very thin material, and which wrinkles or is folded into'the shape of an outer carton when used, thereby leaving many points where stress fatigue due to flexing can occur.
A filling neck and pouring spout 30 is provided at an edge of the container. Due to the fact that the container is formed of two diagonally split sections or halves which are symmetrical, and as indicated at 22 and 24, it is also possible to split this spout through its narrowed dimension. This permits a Wide and flat spout at the corner of the container where it is most desirable. This filling neck and pouring spout 30 also is sealed at its edges 32 at the same time that the halves 22 and 24 are sealed along line 26. This neck is tapered from a wide, easy to fill mouth 34, of an oval configuration before sealing, and tapers to a narrow point at 36 which is the corner of the container. This narrow point at the corner facilitates easy folding as will appear hereinafter. As the neck gets narrower it also gets wider, thereby maintaining approximately the same cross-sectional area. Therefore, liquids can flow readily through the folding point without undue restriction.
In order to facilitate easy collapsing of the container for nesting such as shown in Figs. 3 and 4, a fold line is provided at 38 which extends completely around the container in spaced parallel relationship with the seal line 26. This fold line 38 is formed by providing a slight indentation in the material of the container itself. Due to the use of semi-rigid plastic material, the body can be flexed as shown in Fig. 3 wherein the body half 24 is collapsed into the half 22 around the fold line 38, the initial collapsing stage being shown in Fig. 3. When this collapsing is completed, the containers assume the configuration shown in Fig. 4 wherein a plurality of the containers designated as 40, '42, 4 4 have the half portions corresponding to 24 in Fig. l collapsed within the other half portions and can be nested as shown for easy shipping with a substantial conservation of space.
In order to facilitate the folding of the filling neck and pouring spout 30, a fold line 46 is provided at the base or narrow portion 36 of the spout where it joins with the body of the container. This fold line 46 is formed similarly to the fold line 38 by providing a slight indentation in the body of the container. The provision of the fold .lines 38 and 46 provides folding or collapsing only at desired points and prevents the undesired creasing or bending of the material.
In the embodiment disclosed in Figs. 1 to 4 inclusive of the drawings, these fold lines are provided and the spout is shown as being of a heat scalable character. After the container is filled, then the end of the pouring spout is collapsed and sealed by any desired heat sealing means. Thereafter when the container is to be placed for example in an outer carton, or when a plurality are to be placed in one carton for shipping, the spouts can be folded back into contact with the body of the container. This aspect of the invention will be more specifically described hereinafter in connection with Figs. 6, 7 and 8.
In Fig. 5 of the drawings a modified form of the invention is shown. Here the container 48 is again formed of symmetrical halves 50 and 52, sealed together along line 54, and a filling neck and spout 56 similar to the neck 30 of the Fig. 1 embodiment is positioned at an edge of the container. Preferably, this container 48 is also of cubical shape. The dilference between this embodiment and the previous described embodiment resides in the fact that no fold lines are provided either in the body of the container or in the neck. Additionally, if desired, the seam at 54 can be of less pronounced dimensions. For some applications this construction of container is desirable, especially where the col-lapsibility feature or foldable feature of the neck are not so important.
It is to be noted that in the embodiments shown it is possible, in accordance with the process of manufacturing the container, to control the thickness of the neck at any point or on either side to obtain the most desirable results. Due to the shape and configuration, in conjunction with the arrangement of the spout with relation to the container, a most desirable location is provided and at the same time folding ease is incorporated as well as accessibility.
As previously pointed out, one of the most important features of the present invention resides in the construction, shape and configuration of the foldable neck and pouring spout. Figs. 6 to 14 inclusive disclose several possible types of closures which can be used on the spout.
In Figs. 6, 7 and 8 a heat scalable type of closure is shown. Here the body of the container is shown at 58 and the pouring spout is designated 60. The pouring spout 60 is provided with a fold line 62, and a recess 64 is formed in the body of the container in proximity to the base of the neck or spout 60. This recess while desirable is not entirely necessary. The end of the spout or neck 60 is closed by sealing at 66 as shown in Fig. 7, and thereafter the neck or spout 60 is folded backwardly along fold line 62 in the direction of the arrow 68, in Fig. 8 into the recess 64 which gives a more symmetrical configuration to the filled and closed container. In this type of heat-scalable closure, the oval narrow shape of the neck with the tapered seal at each edge permits the neck to be easily flattened and readily sealed by the heat sealing jaws of almost any standard type of bag sealer. When this type of closure is used, the ultimate user cu-ts either a corner or the entire length of the seal from the spout. This design is primarily used on containers where re-use is of secondary importance. Actually, the spout can be folded and tucked back into an outer carton which will provide an almost air tight seal and is completely satisfactory in many re-use applications. This secondary seal is achieved by the contour design at the base of the spout which forms a tight restriction when folded.
In the embodiment shown in Figs. 9, 10 and 11, a snap-cap type of closure is used. In this form of the invention a recess 70 which is designed to receive the neck 7 2 is desirable due to the configuration of the neck. The neck '72 is provided with fold line 74 and the outer end of the neck has a restricted annular orifice 76 which can be of any desired configuration. A cap 78 of proper dimensions and configuration is attached to the neck by flexible link 80. The configuration and dimensions of the orifice 76 and cap 78 are such that the cap has a snap-in fit in the orifice 76, and is shown in that position in Fig. 10. After having closed the orifice 76 with the cap 78, the neck 72 is folded along fold line 74 into the recess 70 as shown in Fig. 11, the direction of folding being indicated by arrow 82. Again in this modification, the end result when the neck has been closed and folded provides a symmetrical configuration to the container.
in Figs. l2, l3 and 14 the container is provided with a screw-cap closure. Here again a recess 84 is desirable and is formed in the body of the container. The neck 86 is provided with fold line 88, and a threaded orifice 90 is provided at the outer end of the neck. A cap 92 of a type having a double flange or skirt 94, 96 is attached to the neck by flexible member 98. The flanges 94 and 96 are provided with screw threads and are adapted for coaction with the screw threads of the threaded orifice 90 and being on either side thereof. A strengthening rib 100 is provided in the interior of the cap, exposed to the outside, and additionally can serve to facilitate attaching or detaching the cap from the threaded orifice 90.
After the cap has been placed on the orifice to close the container, the neck 86 is folded into recess 84 along fold lines 88 as indicated by arrow 102. Here again the symmetrical outline of the container is provided.
It will be seen from the foregoing that a container has been developed having highly desirable features and which can be manufactured by a process which is quite versatile and featuring controlled distribution of material thickness. The process is readily adaptable to large containers and without restrictions as to shape, size, closure or inefliciencies affecting cost. The containers of the present invention have many advantages over not only other plastic bottles or containers, but also over conventional glass and metal containers as well. When constructed of a flexible thermoplastic material it can be collapsed and nested for economical shipment to the user and where a rigid thermoplastic is utilized, although collapsibility cannot be exploited, nevertheless the light weight is of a definite advantage.
The location and configuration of the spout, preferably at an edge of the container of a cubical configuration, provides an extremely convenient pouring spout, and at the same time permits folding ease and accessibility. Fold lines are provided to facilitate collapsing of the containers and folding of the spout to facilitate packaging or shipping. The collapsing of the container diagonally is of importance in this connection since it provides the necessary draft for nesting which could not be obtained as readily with other configurations.
Due to the configuration and the construction of the container, the process permits forming two sheets and joining them together to form a complete container. By splitting the cubical container diagonally it is also possible to split the spout through its narrowed dimension which allows a wide flat spout at the corner of the cube where it is most desirable. In other bottle processes the configuration of the spout of the present invention together with its highly desirable characteristics would be extremely difiicult, if not impossible.
Where it is desired to use the present container as an insert in an outer carton, the container can be shaped to fit the interior contour of the outer carton without folds or creases, and ample radii are used at all corners to stiffen them against flexing. When the neck folds, it folds in such a way that flexing is completely eliminated during transit. It is held fiat against the outer carton by the side wall of the insert itself. The fact that the present container is formed to shape, as is a bottle, eliminates the difliculties of stress fatigue due to flexing such as in a bag of very thin material which wrinkles or is folded into the shape of the outer carton.
Manifestly many minor changes in details of construction can be efiected within the scope of the present invention as defined by and limited solely by the appended claims.
1. A plastic container for liquids, powders and semisolids, comprising a hollow rectangular container body of flexible, semi-rigid thermoplastic material, consisting of two symmetrical halves, each having wall portions respectively joined by formed corners, said halves being sealed together along mating edges lying in a plane which intersects diagonally opposite, parallel sealed corners of said body, one of said halves being collapsible into the other with alternate, parallel formed corners in converging relation, whereby a plurality of collapsed containers may be nested together for shipping and storage.
2. A plastic container for liquids, powders and semisolids, comprising a hollow rectangular container body of flexible, semi-rigid thermoplastic material, consisting of two symmetrical halves, each having wall portions respectively joined by formed corners, said halves being sealed together along mating edges lying in a plane which intersects diagonally opposite, parallel sealed corners of said body, one of said halves being collapsible into the other with alternate, parallel formed corners in converging relation, whereby a plurality of collapsed containers can be nested together for shipping and storage, and a filling and pouring spout integrated with and opening into the interior of said body, said spout being formed in two halves integral with respective body halves and sealed together along said diagonal plane, at one of said sealed corners, and being foldable into overlying contact with the container body.
3. A plastic container as claimed in claim 2, a linear indentation being positioned transversely in the material of the spout in close proximity to the base thereof, and defining a fold line for folding said spout.
4. A plastic container as claimed in claim 3, an indentation being formed in the material of the body in parallel spaced relation with the diagonal seal line between said halves, said indentation defining a fold line for facilitating collapsing of one half into the other half.
5. A plastic container as claimed in claim 2, said filling and pouring spout tapering from a wide opening substantially oval-shaped mouth, to a narrow point where connected to said body, said spout becoming Wider as it tapers toward the narrow point thereof, thereby maintaining approximately the same cross-sectional flow area throughout its length for easy uniform flow of material therethrough.
6. A plastic container as claimed in claim 2, wherein said halves are provided with contoured radii at the corners and edges thereof, and said halves are joined together with a molecular bond along said diagonal plane.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 470,838 Hart Mar. 15, 1892 2,043,924 Cowley June 9, 1936 2,077,341 Martin et al. Apr. 13, 1937 2,337,730 Berch Dec. 28, 1943 2,574,931 Nason Nov. 13, 1951 2,674,287 Smith et al. Apr. 6, 1954 2,730,150 Wunderwald et al. Jan. 10, 1956 2,773,631 Bryant Dec. 11, 1956 FOREIGN PATENTS 812,584 Germany Sept. 3, 1951