US 3038649 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 12, 1962 H. A. RAUSING 3,038, 49
TETRAHEDRON PACKAGE WITH DISPENSING OPENING Filed March 14, 1961 Hans Anders Raw/fig 11y BY 1 w e -021% 1% ATTORNEYS nited States Patent F Filed Mar. 14, 1961, Ser. No. 95,540 13 Claims. (Cl. 229-17) The present invention relates to tetrahedron-shaped packages and more particularly to an improved construction for dispensing the fluent contents in the package through an opening which can be easily formed in one wall of the package.
The invention is related in particular to tetrahedronshaped packages made from a flexible wall material and wherein the package, notwithstanding its flexible characteristic, has an essentially self-supporting, monocoque characteristic by which the package retains its geometric shape. One suitable wall material is paper of substantial thickness and which is coated on one side with polyethylene or a similar plastic material, the package being soformed from the wall material that the polyethylene coating is located on the inside and in contact with the fluent filling material. This plastic-lined package construction is most important when the fluent filling material is a liquid since it serves well as a barrier layer to prevent the liquid from soaking into the fibers of the paper.
It is known to provide various forms of dispensing openings through the wall of a self-supporting package such as, for example, involving use of a hinged spout or the like mounted in the wall adjacent a corner of the package, and which can be shifted between a closed posi tion and an open, pouring position. Another principle which has been adopted is to provide a dispensing opening outlined by scoring the wall to a particular configuration, and then rupturing and bending back the wall along the score line.
It has been suggested that such a tetrahedron-shaped package be opened by tearing off one corner portion adjacent an end of one of the two mutually perpendicular sealing fins which characterize the end closures of the package but this tearing expedient is not practical when it is desired to establish the dispensing opening in one wall of the package because of the presence of the plastic inner lining which is inherently tough and resistant to rupturing forces. Use of a pouring spout is not practical because of the relatively high cost involved.
In accordance with the present invention, the principal object is to provide a novel construction for a dispensing opening in one wall of a tetrahedron-shaped package which is economical to produce and yet is easy to establish by the user.
The new and improved dispensing opening comprises a slit in the vicinity of an apex of the package, said slit extending completely through the package wall material and passing over two of the three tetrahedron edges meeting at said package apex, thereby to make possible depressing the apex wall portion at said slit towards the third one of said three tetrahedron edges into a stable inwardly deformed position away from the pouring lip established by the slit.
Preferably, the ends of the slit are located so as to permit inward buckling of said apex wall portion at the slit along lines extending from the adjacent package apex through said slit ends. Furthermore, the slit preferably is made symmetrical to each side of a bisector line to the apex angle of the intermediate triangular wall wholly traversed by the slit. To facilitate the inward deformation of the apex wall portion at the slit and to maintain the same in an in-folded position away from the pouring lip so as not to interfere with the dispensing operation, the package wall may be pre-creased or otherwise weakened along said biseotor line from the slit in 3,fi38,549 Patented June 12, 1962 the direction of the apex and/or along those lines about which the inbuckling takes place and which preferably connect the package apex and each of the slit ends.
The slit may have different configurations establishing a suitable pouring lip when depressing said apex wall portion at the slit, and two different slit configurations are illustrated in the detailed description which is to follow. In one embodiment of the invention, the slit is curvilinear with the center of curvature being located in the direction of the apex of the intermediate triangular wall entirely spanned by the slit. In another embodiment, the slit is V-shaped and with the point of the V facing away from the apex of said triangular wall.
In all embodiments, the slit is covered with an external seal the slit and strip adhesively secured to the package wall substantially to restore the initial mechanical properties of the package wall material. This strip is easily removable or rupturable to expose the slit preparatory to a dispensing operation, and provides a hygienic wall area adjacent to slit to prevent contamination of the contents as they are poured from the opening.
In case the fluent filling material is a liquid and the package wall material comprises a body layer of wicking properties, e.g. paper, and a barrier acting lining, the slit will expose two out edge faces of the body layer Where the liquid may soak into the body layer. To avoid such undesired soaking the invention provides means for isolating the interior of the body layer at the slit from the liquid packaged. Preferably, such means comprises a material of barrier properties applied to said body layer cut edges of the slit as a coating or an impregnation.
The principles of the invention and its advantages will become more apparent from the following detailed description of two different embodiments thereof and from the accompanying drawings.
FIG. 1 of the drawings is .a view in perspective of a substantially regular tetrahedron package provided with a dispensing opening and which is covered by a sealing strip, the configuration of the slit being curvilinear;
FIG. 2 is a view at a larger scale showing only the apex portion of the triangular side wall entirely traversed by the dispensing opening;
FIGURE 2a is 'a view similar to FIGURE 2 but with the sealing strip removed;
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but with the sealing strip removed and the dispensing opening established by deformation of the package Wall at the slit;
FIG. 4 is a section taken on line 4-4 of FIG. 3; and
FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but with the sealing strip removed, showing a modified configuration for the slit, the latter being in the form of a V and with the point of the V facing away from the apex of the triangular side wall entirely traversed by it.
With reference now to the drawings, the package is seen to be in the form of a substantially regular tetrahedron, i.e. a tetrahedron in which the four faces or walls thereof are constituted by substantially equilateral triangles. Three of the four faces are shown in the drawing and are designated by numerals 1-3.
One practical way for forming and filling packages of the foregoing type is disclosed in United States Letters Patent No. 2,741,079 granted April 10, 1956 in the name of Ruben Reusing. In general, a Web of flexible packaging material such as paper coated on one side with a plastic material, e.g. polyethylene, is formed into a tube with the plastic coating on the inside, the tube is then filled with a fluent filling material which may be liquid or a pulverant, and the tetrahedron package is then formed by flat-pressing and sealing along narrow zones in a direction transverse to the tube axis and in alternately one and the other of two mutually perpendicular planes. In the drawings, the paper is indicated at 4 and the plastic ice coating at 5, see FIG. 4. The flat-pressed sealing zones at opposite ends of the package are indicated at 6 and 7.
The tetrahedron package may be completely filled, but to less than its maximum volumetric capacity, or it may be only partially filled with a predetermined quantity of the fluent filling material.
In accordance with the invention, a tetrahedron package formed and filled, for example, in the manner above described or in any other manner found suitable, is provided with a dispensing opening which is characterized by a slit through the package wall, the slit being located in the vicinity of an apex of the package, and wherein the dispensing opening is established by deforming the package wall inwardly adjacent the slit.
In FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 4, which illustrate one practical embodiment of the invention, the slit 3 through the package wall at the upper apex 9 of the package has an arouate configuration with the center of curvature located in the direction of the apex and extends between the two triangular walls 1 and 2 meeting at the adjacent sealing zone 6 entirely traversing the intermediate triangular wall 3 and passing over the two tetrahedron edges connecting same to said two triangular walls 1 and 2 having each a slit end (only one shown). The curvilinear slit 8 is seen to be symmetrical to each side of a bisector line 11, see FIG. 2, of the intermediate triangular wall 3 extending from the apex 9 normal to the base of the triangle. In order to facilitate forming of the dispensing opening, the wall of the package along the bisector line 11. is preferably creased or otherwise weakened from the slit towards the apex so as to facilitate a folding inwardly of the apex wall portion 12 at the slit 8 about the crease line, the latter being indicated at 13-.
The slit ends 10 (only one shown) being situated on the triangular walls 1 and 2 meeting at the adjacent sealing zone 6, the apex wall portion 12 at the slit 8 when depressed inwardly towards the sealing zone 6, will buckle into substantially the opposite shape passing through an instable position defined by an intermediate plane extending through the package apex 9. To facilitate the inwardly buckling of the apex wall portion 12' the package wall is preferably creased or otherwise weakened from the slit 8 to the apex 9 along the lines of intersection between such intermediate plane and the package wall, such buckling crease lines (only one) being indicated at 14. These buckling crease lines 14 may replace the crease line 13, if desired. Preferably, the slit ends 10 are situated in said intermediate buckling plane (shown by dotand-dash line in FIG. 4) the buckling crease lines 14 connecting them with the package apex 9.
In order substantially to restore the initial mechanical properties of the unslitted package Wall material, the slit 8 and that portion of the package wall which borders it is covered by an external strip 15 adhesively secured to the package wall.
The strip 15 may be wholly or partly easily removable or may be rupturable to expose the slit 8 preparatory to a dispensing operation. In case of a rupturable strip 15 the same may be provided with a zip string (not shown) or the like to facilitate exposing the slit 8. If the strip 15 is to be wholly or partly removed, preferably it features a margin portion that may be easily raised from the package wall, e.g. due to lack of adhesion thereto, and used as a pull tag.
To open the package, the sealing strip 15 is first removed or ruptured, as above described, thus exposing the slit 8. The dispensing opening is established by pushing inwardly against the apex wall portion 12 at the slit 8 thus causing this wall portion to buckle inwardly into a permanent inward substantially opposite shape indicated in FIGS. 3 and 4. When buckling the wall portion 12 inwardly, opposite walls 1 and 2. of the package in the vicinity of the package apex 9 where the slit 8 is located may be pinched between the thumb and third finger while at the same time pressing inwardly against the package apex wall portion 12 with the forefinger. This deforms the apex wall portion 12 inwardly so as to cause it to buckle through an intermediate unstable position defining a plane passing through the package apex 9, and establish the desired pouring lip 16, the contour of which is defined by the line of slitting. In lieu of pouring out the contents, a drinking straw may be inserted into the opening.
If the tetrahedron package is less than completely filled, the level of the filling is such that it will be not higher, and preferably somewhat lower, than the dispensing opening established by the slit 8 when the package is so disposed that the package apex 9 in the vicinity of which the slit 8 is located faces upwardly as in FIG. 1. If the tetrahedron package is completely filled, but to less than its maximum volumetric capacity, then the slit 8 will be located such that it will be above the level which will be assumed by the filling material when the interior of the package is exposed to atmospheric pressure.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 to 4, the slit 8 has a curvilinear configuration. However, the slit may be otherwise configured so long as it will establish an inwardly deformed wall portion when pressed inwardly. In FIG. 5 the slit is seen to be constituted by two downwardly convergent rectilinear slit lines 17, 18 which meet at a point 19 to establish a V-shaped slit with the apex of the V pointing away from the package apex 11 at which it is located. As with the other embodiment first described, the wall 3 may be creased at 20 equidistant between the slit lines 17, 18 from the point 19 upwards so that the apex wall portion at the slits 17, 18 will more readily fold inwardly as a pressure is applied to them or the walls 1 and 2 may be creased along lines corresponding to lines 14 shown in FIG. 1.
One practical way of forming the necessary slit in the package wall is to cut the same into the packaging material in conjunction with it transformation from web to tubular form as the packages are formed and filled. If the package forming and filling machine is capable of what is commonly known as registered operations," the slit can be cut into the packaging material as it is made into a web and rolled up. In either case the cut edges of the slit may be wicking-proofed through coating or impregnation with a suitable material, and the restoring strip applied to the package wall material in conjunction with the cutting of the slit. In conclusion, it will be seen that I have provided a simple, inexpensive and yet very effective and practical construction for a dispensing opening in a package of the type described.
In addition to its opening feature, the dispensing means according to the invention ofiers an inherent reclosing feature. Since the package apex wall portion at the slit when opening the package is caused to buckle into its inward stable it is possible to make it buckle in the opposite direction to reassume its original shape. Such rebuckling may be eifected through applying a slight pressure to the packaging apex 9 in the direction of the other package apex at the same sealing fin 6 while simultaneously slightly swinging the adjacent portion of the fin 6 along its inner boundary line towards either of the two triangular walls 1 and 2 meeting at said line, until said apex wall portion 12 will snap into its closed position. Conveniently, said pressure to the package apex 9 is ap plied by the forefinger, while the thumb resting against the outer cut edge of the fin 6 at a distance from the apex 9 affects the inward folding of the adjacent fin portion. In case of a sealing and restoring strip 15 to be removed only partially preparatory to the dispensing operation such strip may be used substantially to reseal the package after rebuckling said apex wall portion 12 into its original shape, if the strip has a reusable adhesive on its inner face.
While two practical embodiments of the invention have been described and illustrated, other modifications as to slit configuration, restoring strip, slit cut edge, wickingproofing, etc. may be adopted without, however, departing from the spirit and scape of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. A tetrahedron package containing a fluent filling material, said package being characterized by four triangular walls and means for dispensing said fluent filling material from said package, said dispensing means being comprised of a slit through three adjacent triangular walls in the vicinity of a package apex, said slit having a configuration such as to develop an inwardly deformable apex wall portion separable from the remainder of the wall to establish a dispensing opening, and outer means sealing said slit and substantially restoring the initial mechanical properties of the unslitted package wall material, said sealing and restoring means being inactivatable to expose said slit preparatory to a dispensing operation.
2. A tetrahedron package having a dispensing opening as defined in claim 1 and wherein said slit by which the opening is formed is curvilinear.
3. A tetrahedron package as defined in claim 2 wherein said curvilinear slit has its center of curvature located in the direction of said package apex.
4. A tetrahedron package as defined in claim 2 wherein said curvilinear slit is symmetrical to each side of a bisector line to the apex of the intermediate one of said three adjacent triangular walls.
5. A tetrahedron package as defined in claim 4 wherein said package wall is creased along said bisector line from said curvilinear slit in the direction of said package apex.
6. A tetrahydron package having a dispensing opening as defined in claim 1 and wherein said slit by which the opening is formed has a V-shaped configuration, the point of the V facing away from said package apex.
7. A tetrahedron package as defined in claim 6 wherein said V-shaped slit is symmetrical to each side of a bisector 8. A tetrahedron package as defined in claim 7 wherein said package wall is creased along said bisector line from said slit in the direction of said package apex.
9. A tetrahedron package having a dispensing opening as defined in claim 1 and wherein the two opposite ones of said three adjacent triangular walls each are creased along a line from said slit in the direction of said package apex, said crease lines defining a plane of instability to be passed through by said apex wall portion at the slit when deformed inwardly into its dispensing position.
10. A tetrahedron package as defined in claim 9 wherein said two opposite triangular walls are creased each along a line connecting the respective end of said slit with said package apex.
11. A tetrahedron package as defined in claim 1 and wherein the package wall material comprises an outer layer soakable with said filling material, the cut edges of said slit being treated to prevent wicking of said filling material into the package wall at the slit.
12. A tetrahedron package as defined in claim 11, wherein said slit cut edges are coated with a sealing material.
13. A tetrahedron package as defined in claim 11, wherein said slit cut edges are impregnated with a sealing material.
jacent triangular walls.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Cartwright Feb. 6, 1951 Schneider Sept. 13, 1960 FOREIGN PATENTS France Oct. 6, 1958