US 3054679 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
sept. 18, 1962 K. C. BRADFoRb FOOD PACKAGE 5 Sheets-Shea?l l Filed April 22, 1959 ATTORNEYS,
Sept. 18, 1962 K. c. BRADFORD FOOD PACKAGE 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed April 22, 1959 Mahnungen lllll imam...
fjf Qi@ 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 V l N; A
U U36 U K. C. BRADFORD FOOD PACKAGE (/g-lf Q/f j Cf Sept. 18, 1962 Filed April :22, 1959 e. R. O a u mr E E a o V4 w United States Patent Olilice 3,054,679 Patented Sept. 18, 1962 3,054,679 FGD PACKAGE Kenneth C. Bradford, Anderson Township, Hamilton County, @hie Custom-Pak, Inc., 5320 Eastern Ave., Cincinnati 26, Ghia) Filed Apr. 22, 1959, Ser. No. 808,192 Claims. (Cl. 99-171) This invention relates to packaging, and more particularly to the packaging of individual servings of jellies, jams and other comestibles and .the like which may be conveniently served in package form by restaurants, driveins, and other food service operations. While primarily intended vfor food service use, it should be understood from the outset that such packages may be employed for a wide variety of products outside the food field wherein relatively small individual units are required.
It is a principal object of my invention to provide an improved cup structure having a bottom or body part and a cover, the arrangement of parts being such that the cover may be readily removed or stripped when it is desired to dispense the contents of the package.
A further object of the invention is the provision of a package which is simple and inexpensive to manufacture and which may be charged and sealed in a continuous operation.
Still a further object of the invention is the provision of packaging structures and techniques which readily lend themselves to mechanization and fabrication in multiple units, thereby enhancing the speed and economy of the assembly line.
The foregoing objects together with others which will appear hereinafter or which will be apparent to the skilled worker upon reading these speciiications, I accomplish by those constructions and arrangement of parts and by those procedures of which I shall now describe certain exemplary embodiments.
Reference is now made to the drawings wherein:
FIGURE l is a plan view of a sheet of cup structures formed in accordance with my invention.
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged vertical sectional view taken along the lines 2 2 of FIGURE l.
FIGURE 3 is a plan view illustrating a cover sheet for the cup structure of FIGURE l.
FIGURE 4 is an enlarged perspective view illustrating one form of cup structure and its cover sheet.
FIGURE 5 is a perspective view similar to FIGURE 4 illustrating an alternative form of cup structure.
FIGURE 6 is a plan view of the cup structures illustrated in FIGURE 5.
FIGURE 7 is a vertical sectional view taken along the line 7-7 of FIGURE 6 illustrating the relationship between the cup structure and its cover sheet.
FIGURE 8 is a fragmentary plan view of a support for the cup structures of FIGURE l.
FIGURE 9 is an enlarged sectional view taken along the line 9-9 of FIGURE 8.
FIGURE 10 is a vertical sectional view taken along the line III-I0 of FIGURE 9.
FIGURE ll is a diagrammatic side elevational view illustrating the manner in which the cup assemblies are charged and sealed.
FIGURE l2 is an enlarged vertical sectional View taken along the line IZ-IZ of FIGURE ll.
FIGURE 13 is an enlarged fragmentary diagrammatic view illustrating the manner in which the sealed cup assemblies are separated from their supports.
FIGURE 13a is a fragmentary side elevational view illustrating the stripping of the cup assemblies from their supports.
FIGURE 14 is an enlarged vertical sectional view illustrating the manner in which the cup assemblies may be severed into individual rows of sealed cups.
FIGURE l5 is a plan view illustrating the entire cup assembly severed into rows.
FIGURE 16 illustrates one o-f the rows so formed.
FIGURE 17 illustrates the manner in which the rows may be subsequently severed into individual packages.
FIGURE 18 is an enlarged vertical sectional view taken along the line ils-I8 of FIGURE 13.
FIGURE 19 is a fragmentary and diagrammatic elevational view illustrating an alternative procedure for applying the cover sheets to the cup assemblies and their subsequent severance into individual units.
FIGURE 20 is an enlarged sectional view taken along the line Ztl- 20 of FIGURE I9.
Referring to FIGURES 1 and 2 of the drawings, I have therein illustrated an exemplary cup assembly I containing a plurality of rows of cups 2, the cups being separated by planar areas surrounding each cup` and defining an integral outwardly projecting annular flange 3. In the embodiment illustrated, there are live rows containing iive cups each, although it will be understood that the number of rows and the number of cups in each row may be varied as desired.
The cup assemblies may be conveniently formed from polystyrene resin drawn -to the desired shape from sheet form, as will be readily understood by the skilled worker in the art. Of course, if desired, other formable or moldable plastic materials may be employed to form the cup structures.
In the preferred form of cup structure, the mouth of the cup 2 is surrounded by an annular rim 4 which projects above the ilange 3 and has a at upper surface to which the cover sheet will be sealed, as will be explained more fully hereinafter. In another form of the invention, as illustrated vin FIGURE 4, the annular rim just described is eliminated and the cover sheet is sealed directly to the ange 3. In this event, it is desirable to provide cut-outs S at one or more corners of the flange so as to render one or more portions of the cover sheet readily accessible for stripping when it is desired to dispense the contents of the package. The cut-outs 5 may be conveniently formed by punching during the initial fabrication of the cup assemblies. Thus, as seen in FIG- URE l, circular cut-outs may be provided in aligned rows intermediate the cups 2, the arrangement being such that when the cup assembly is subsequently severed into individual units, the lines of severance will pass through the circular cut-outs, thereby providing the desired cutouts 5 at the corners of each package. The arrangement of circular cut-outs illustrated in FIGURE l provides a cut-out at each corner of the packages; although it will be understood that by staggering the circular cut-outs, less than all of the corners may be removed.
A cover sheet 6 is illustrated in FIGURE 3. It may be provided either in sheet form, i.e. a rectangular sheet having edges coinciding with the edges of the cup assembly 1, or it may be provided in roll form and cut to length as used, as will -be pointed tout more fully hereinafter. The cover sheet may bear suitable printed indicia which will register with the individual cups. The material from which the cover sheet is formed does not constitute a limitation on the invention, although preferably it will comprise a transparent non-fibrous film such as polystyrene, cellophane or the like. If the oover sheets are to be heat sealed to the cup, the undersurface will carry a suitable coating of heat scalable material.
I have found it desirable during filling and `sealing of the cup assemblies to support the cups in a holder which lends rigidity for handling and, if desired, may be utilized for subsequent packing in shipping cartons or the like. A preferred form of holder is illustrated in FIG- URES 8 and 9 and comprises a paperboard blank 7 cut and scored to provide aligned rows of coacting 4tabs 8 and 9 adapted to be folded downwardly to provide openings 10 of a size to just nicely receive the cup portions 2 of the packages. As best seen in FIGURE 9, the tabs 8 and 9, when folded downwardly, are of a width such that the bottoms of the cups (as illustrated in dotted lines) terminate just short of the Ifree edges of the tabs, so that the assembly is supported by the tabs rather than by the bottoms of the cups. The act of insert-ing the cup assemblies in the openings dened by the flaps S Iand 9 will serve to lautomatically displace the iiaps and hold them in substantially vertically disposed position. It -will be noted from FIGURE 10 that the folded flaps S and 9 provide rigid support for the areas of the cup assemblies between adjacent cups `where sealing pressure will be applied to secure the cover sheet in place.
Referring now to FIGURE ll, I have therein diagrammatically illustrated a iilling and sealing line wherein the cup -assemblies 1 and their Aassociated 4holders 7 are adapted to be moved along a table or similar support 11 in end-to-end relation, the assemblies being advanced by means of dogs 12 projecting upwardly through slots 13 (FIGURE l2) extending lengthwise of the table, the dogs forming par-ts of endless chains 14 passing around pairs of sprocket wheels 15 and .16. The chains may advance the cup assemblies either intermittently or oontinuously depending on the type of equipment employed. In the exemplary embodiment illustrated, 'the assemblies are adapted to be advanced intermittently, the endless chains being advanced by the fingers 17 arranged to engage the pins 1S projecting outwardly from the d-ogs 12. The fingers 17 are mounted on blocks 19 which are adapted to be moved rearwardly in frame 20 by reason o-f their connection through rods 21 to a single revolution clutch member 22. When the block L19 has reached the rearmost position, the cam member 23 will cause the frame 20 to move upwardly relative to fixed supports 24, whereupon the fingers 17 will enga-ge the pins 18 and, as the blocks 19 are pressed forwardly, the conveyor chains will be advanced by a distance suicient to bring one of the cup assemblies beneath the iilling spouts 25.
It will be understood that there will be as many filling spouts 25 as there are cups so that upon actuation of the product ejection mechanism 26, each of the cups in the assembly will receive a measured increment of product. The ejection mechanism may be conveniently Iactuated by means of a cam 27 and follower 28, the cam 27 being driven in timed relation to the clutch mechanism 22. If the cup assemblies are to be moved continuously, the filling nozzles may be mounted on a movable support adapted to travel with the cup assemblies `for a short distance, the product ejecting mechanism being arranged to discharge the product as the nozzle travels with the cup, whereupon the product flow will be cut olir andthe nozzles moved rearwardly 4for alignment with the next succeeding assembly.
As indicated earlier herein, the' cover sheets may be secured to the cup structures by heat alonewhere the cover sheets are of a heat `scalable character-or, if desired, an adhesive may be applied -for .this purpose. In the latter event, I have found it preferable to apply the adhesive before the product is introduced; and to this end, the adhesive may be applied by means of a roll applicator 29 positioned Aahead of the filling station and fed from an adhesive pan 30. I have found that the use of the cup structure illustrated in FIGURE 5, wherein a flat annular rim 4 surrounds the cup, greatly facilitates the application of the bonding adhesive and provides a tight seal where it `is most needed. It will be understood, of course, that diverse adhesives may be employed, although I perfer to employ a hot-melt type adhesive which provides good bonding strength and yet permits the cover strip to be readily peeled away when it is desired to open the package. Where the flat :annular rim is employed, a material savings in adhesive in realized and the resultant package is extremely neat in appearance.
Following the application of the adhesive and the filling of ethe cups, the cover sheet is fed onto the cup assembly and pressed in place, -as by means of the pressure roller 31. The paperboard holder 7 provides sufficient support so that positive sealing pressure may be applied, thereby tirmly securing the cover sheet in place. Where the cover sheets are supplied in sheet form, suitable sheet placing mechanism will be provided to deposit the sheets on the cup assemblies with their edges in registry with the edges of the assemblies. It the cover sheets are to be applied in r-oll form, suitable hold down rolls will be provided and a cut off knife or hot cutting wire arranged to sever the web coincident with the trailing edges of the cup assemblies.
Following the sealing of the cup structures, they may be packed as units for shipment with the holders 7 remaining in position `to pnovide a support so that a plurality of the cup assemblies may be stacked one upon the other. Preferably, however, the cup assemblies `will be severed into individual units immediately following sealing. Thus, as illustrated in FIGURE 13, the assemblies will Ibe passed between spaced apart rotary cutting knives 32 arranged to pass between the longitudinally extending rows of cups to sever them into individu-al rows, such as the row 33 seen in FIGURE 16. Thereafter, suitable ily knives or .fthe like may be employed to sever the rows transversely along lines 34 (FIGURE 17) to form individual packages. The llines yof severance 34 may completely sever the individual packages yfrom each other, or, if desired, a short nick may be lett at the ends of the lines of severance, thereby connecting the packages in each row together so as to yfacilitate their handling. In the hau-ds of the user, the individual packages may be readily separated by breaking apart the adjoining packages in the area-s of the nicks.
It will be apparent also that the cup assemblies may be severed into rows and/or individual packages with or without the supporting holders. As will be evident from FIGURE 14, the knives which serve to sever the assemblies into rows or individual packages may 'also be employed to sever the holders. Alternatively, if it is desired to package or otherwise use the cups without their holders, the holders may be stripped therefrom. For example, as seen in FIGURES 13 and 13a, upon passing beyond the trailing sprocket 16, the cup assemblies may be passed over a stripping station 35 where air jets 36 arranged to impinge upon the leading edge of the assembly will serve to move the leading edge of the holder 7 downwardly with respect to the cup assembly. To permit this, the table 11 terminates lat the stripping station and is replaced by a series of spaced apart bars 37 (FIGURE 18) underlying each row of cups. As the assemblies pass onto the bars 37, the holders will drop to the position illustrated in FIGURE 18, and their .depending flaps S or 9 will rest on underlying support 38 which is spaced from the bars by a distance such that the lowermost extremities of the cups will remain in contact with the openings 1) in the holders, thereby causing the holders to be moved along with the cup assemblies. As the cup assemblies advance, they will be moved over a series of spaced apart stripping ngers 39 arranged to pass between the rows of cups beneath their iianges. At the same time the stripping fingers 39 will overlie the holders and will cause them to be positively separated from the cup assemblies. As is seen in FIG- URE 13a, the holder support 38 may terminate just beyond the leading edges of the stripping fingers so that the now separated holders may drop free from the cup assemblies.
In the exemplary embodiment illustrated, one set of the dogs 12, as they pass around the sprockets 16, are utilized to actuate an air control switch 4l) operatively connected to the Valve 41 controlling the operation of the air jets 36 which blow the leading edges of the holders downwardly and thereby assure that the stripping lingers 39 will overlie the holders.
In FIGURE 19, I have illustrated the feeding of the cover material in the form of a continuous Web 6a having a heat scalable surface for contact with the anges or rims of the cups. Sealing heat and pressure will be supplied by the heated roller 42. In this embodiment the cup assemblies are adapted to be severed into individual units by means of the heated wire grid 43 which contains a plurality of longitudinally and transversely disposed wire elements 44 and 45, respectively, which will serve in a single operation to cut through both the cover sheet and the cup assembly. Plastic structures of the character herein contemplated may be readily cut by the use of hot wires which will melt through the plastic material. Thus, as seen in FIGURE l5, the entire cup assembly may be severed in one direction along the lines 46, and in the opposite direction along the lines 47. Where a paperboard holder is employed, it may be retained intact, the grid being arranged to stop at or just short of the holder.
FIGURE 19 also illustrates an alternative means for supporting the cup assemblies during the sealing of the cover sheets thereon. As seen therein, a rotating drum 48 is provided with spaced apart ridges 49 extending across the cylindrical surface of the drum, the ridges being spaced so as to enter between adjacent rows of cups and contact the underside of the ilanges. The drum is positioned so that its axis is in alignment with the axis of the pressure applying roller, such as the roller 32, so that, at the time pressure is being applied to the cup assemblies, they will be supported from beneath by the ridges, thereby permitting the application of the required sealing pressure. While primarily intended for use where the paperboard supports 7 are not employed, such supports also may be used, as will be apparent from FIGURE 20.
It is to be understood that the apparatus illustrated is exemplary only and is intended simply to illustrate the procedures to be followed in forming package structures in accordance with the invention. It should now be apparent that by the use of the cup assemblies described and the procedures for filling and sealing them, I am able to carry out the packaging operation in an etlicient manner at a relatively high rate of speed. The cup assemblies may be packaged either as individual units or in groups, with or without their supporting holders which serve as a convenient packing medium for shipment and storage. In the hands of the user, the cup structures are extremely easy to open, which has been a major objection to most comparable packages of which I am aware. In the form of package illustrated in FIGURES and 7 wherein the cover sheet is sealed to the upwardly projecting annular rim surrounding the cup proper, it will be evident that the outlying portions of the cover sheet are spaced from the underlying flange and hence are readily engageable by the fingers. I have also found that by reason of the annular seal along the at top of the rim, an improved peeling or stripping action is obtained. Of course, if desired, one or more cut-out corners may be utilized together with the elevated n'm thereby making the cover sheet even more accessible to the user. In the form of the invention illustrated in FIGURE 4, wherein the cover sheet is adhered to the flanges of the cup structure, the cut-out corners nevertheless provide a readily ascertainable and easily gripped cover area from which to initiate the stripping action.
Having thus described my invention in certain exemplary embodiments, what I desire to secure and protect by Letters Patent is:
1. A container for packaging individual food servings comprising a self-sustaining plastic cup structure having an upwardly opening mouth and a horizontally disposed iiange completely surrounding and projecting outwardly .from the mouth of said cup, an upwardly extending annular rim formed in said flange immediately surrounding the mouth of said cup, said rim having a flat horizontally disposed upper surface, said llange being a rectangular outline and having at least one corner thereof cut-away to define a recess, a comestible product in said cup, and a llexible rectangular plastic cover sheet overlying said cup, said sheet having its edges substantially coinciding with the edges of said ange, with one corner of said cover sheet overlying the recess in said llange so as to provide -a readily engageable tab lying within the rectangular contines of said llange, said cover sheet being sealed to the ilat upper surface of said rim only by a low strength seal, the areas of said cover sheet lying outwardly beyond said annular rim being spaced upwardly from said flange by the height of said rim, said cover sheet being strippable from said rim so as to permit the contents of said cup to be dispensed.
2. A container for packaging individual food servings comprising a self-sustaining plastic cup structure having an upwardly opening mouth and a horizontally disposed flange completely surrounding the mouth of said cup, an integral, upwardly extending annular rim formed in said ange immediately surrounding the mouth of said cup, said rim having a dat, horizontally disposed upper surface, said flange extending outwardly beyond said rim on all sides, a comestible product in said cup, and a ilexible plastic cover sheet overlying said cup structure, said cover sheet having its edges substantially coinciding with the edges of said flange, said cover sheet sealed to the flat upper surface of said rim only by a low strength seal, the portions of said cover sheet lying outwardly Vbeyond said rim being spaced upwardly from said ange, whereby the edges of said cover sheet may be readily grasped by the user for stripping said cover sheet -from said rim when it is desired to dispense the contents of said cup structure.
3. The container claimed in claim 2 wherein said cup is circular in cross section, wherein said annular rim is of circular conguration, and wherein the flange is generally rectangular in outline.
4. The container structure claimed in claim 3 wherein said cover sheet is heat sealed to said rim.
5. The container structure claimed in claim 3 wherein said cover sheet is adhesively secured to said rim by means of an adhesive initially applied to said rim.
References Cited in the le of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS