US 3092248 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 4, 1963 (5. w. LANE ETAL TETRAHEDRAL CONTAINER 2 Sheehs-Sheet 1 Original Filed Dec. 20, 1955 FIGI.
June 4, 1963 G. w. LANE EIAL TETRAHEDRAL CONTAINER 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Original Filed Dec. 20, 1955 United States Patent 3,092,248 TETRAHEDRAL CONTAINER George William Lane and John Gayle Sawicki, Omaha, Nehn, assignors to Packaging Frontiers, Inc., Waltham,
Mass., a corporation of Delaware Original application Dec. 2-0, 1955, Ser. No. 554,270, now Patent No. 2,966,021, dated Dec. 27, 1960. Divided and this application Nov. 3, 1960, Ser. No. 66,947
6 Claims. (Cl. 2 0646) The present invention relates to tetrahedron-shaped containers, and more particularly to such containers that are formed from a tube made of paper, plastic materials or the like and having a longitudinal seam along its exterior.
This application is a division of our co-pending application Serial No. 554,270, filed December 20, 1955, issued as U.S. Patent 2,966,021 on December 27, 1960.
It is the general object of the present invention to form a tetrahedron-shaped container from a tube of material having an exterior longitudinal seam so that the seam is locked snugly against the exterior of the container proper to present a neat package which is absolutely sealed from leakage.
An ancillary object of the invention is to provide a tetrahedral container having an exterior seam tightly locked closely to it for rendering the container substantially liquid and gas tight, so that it may be used for packaging carbonated beverages and the like as well as for liquids such as milk and oil.
It is another object of the invention to provide a novel tetrahedron-shaped liquid container which has substantially congruent triangular bases and sides and thus always stands right side up. Such a container may be formed using a smaller sheet of material than has conveniently been used to form a given volume container. Another object as regards this aspect of the invention is to form a specially shaped container which occupies only a fraction of the floor-space normally occupied by conventional bottle-type containers, and which is economically manufactured at only a fraction of the cost of producing similarly filled bottles.
Yet another object is to provide a novel liquid container which is light in weight, easily handled, and readily disposable.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon reference to the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIGS. 1 and 2 are perspective and plan views, respectively, of an illustrative container formed according to the present invention.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged section taken on line 33 of FIG. 1.
FIGURE 4 is an elevational View of an illustrative container forming apparatus, as shown in conjunction with a tube forming apparatus mounted on top thereof. The doors of the container forming apparatus are in open condition and a portion of the shell is broken away to show the apparatus internals.
FIG. 5 is a plan view of the container and tube forming apparati shown in FIG. 4.
While the invention is described in connection with a preferred embodiment thereof, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention thereto but rather it is intended to cover all alternative constructions and modifications falling within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
Turning first to FIG. 4, there is shown for illustrative purposes a typical container forming apparatus 20. The details of the apparatus 20 shown are set forth in our copending application Serial No. 554,270, filed December 20, 1955, issued as US. Patent 2,966,021 on December P Ce 27, 1960. Suflice it to say that the apparatus 20 includes an outer housing or shell 22 having a pair of doors 24 on each side thereof. The lower portion of the shell 22 includes a gear motor 26 for driving the internal apparatus components and a hopper 28 for catching formed and filled containers as they are severed from the tube. A conveyor 30 shown fragmentarily in FIGS. 4 and 5 is provided for carrying the filled containers away from the hopper 28.
Mounted on top of the apparatus 20' is a tube forming apparatus 32 which, as shown, is of the type disclosed in our United States Patent No. 2,934,130, issued April 26, 1960. Although reference may be had to that patent for details of construction of the tube forming apparatus 32, it may be helpful for purposes of the present application to briefly describe the operation of this apparatus.
The tube forming apparatus 32 functions to form from a web 34 of sheet material a round tube 36 having an exterior longitudinal seam. In the illustrative tube forming apparatus the web of sheet material has a coating C (FIG. 3) on one side thereof of thermoplastic material, such as wax, polyethylene, polyvinylidene chloride, or the like. Such thermoplastic coating renders the material heat sealable when coated portions thereof are placed against one another and also moisture resistant. The thermoplastic coating type and weight chosen of course depend to a great extent on the nature of the liquid or other material to be packaged. The sheet material employed may advantageously be formed of paper, cloth, metal foil, plastic materials of various sorts, or like thin, flexible materials.
As shown, a roll 38 of heat sealable material carried by a roll stand 40 is arranged adjacent the container forming apparatus 20, and the web 34 is extended over an idler roller 42 carried at the top of a frame 44 employed for supporting the tube forming apparatus 32. The web 34 is then directed downwardly over a novelly shaped tube former plate 46 and past a pair of rollers 48 which tend to push marginal portions of the web together in side-byside or, in other words, inside face to inside face seam forming relationship, the coated web surface being the inner one. The formed web 34 then passes downwardly through a heat sealing assembly 50 effective to heat seal the marginal web portions together inside face to inside face and thus to form an outstanding longitudinal tube seam. As the tube 36 passes further downwardly and enters the container forming apparatus 20, a seam folding device 52 provided in the top 20a of the apparatus is efiective to crease, i.e. substantially flatten, the outstanding tube seam against the unsealed exterior portion of the tube proper to form a round tube contour.
The apparatus 20 is adaptable to form a garland of tetrahedron-shaped containers 54 (FIGS. 1 and 2) from the continuous round tube 36 which is fed thereto by transversely pinching and sealing the tube successively at right angles at intervals along its length. The seal sealing of the tube 36 is performed using electrically heated tube sealing elements 56 at a sealing station as shown in the drawings, and which act upon the heat-sealable inner tube coating at spaced intervals to form fluid tight seals in succession. The containers 54 are simultaneously filled with liquid or other material to be packaged. Upon completion of the forming and filling operations, the containers are successively sheared one from the other whereupon they drop into the hopper 28 and are thence carried away as desired by means of the conveyor 30.
The illustrative container forming apparatus 20 comprises within the shell 22 and main frame 23, in general, the seam folding device 52 provided in the upper portion thereof which also functions as the tube centering means, means for continuously pulling the tube 36 through the apparatus and for performing the transverse heat sealing operation .upon it including, two pairs of cooperating oppositely disposed endless chain assemblies 60 arranged at right angles to one another and which carry the sealing elements 56, a container filling assembly 62, severing 'means (not shown) for detaching the filled and formed containers 54 from the tube 36, and the lower hopper 28. Drive for the endless chain assemblies 61 is provided by gear motor 26 acting through a drive transmission assembly 66.
Filling of the containers 54 being formed is accomplished by provision of the tube filling assembly 62 which comprises a liquid filling pipe 68 supported by the tube forming apparatus 32 and extending concentrically downwardly within the tube 36. The filling pipe 68 preferably terminates somewhat above the uppermost tube sealing joint formed by the apparatus 20 and the liquid flow is so adjusted as to maintain a head of liquid in the tube 36 above the uppermost seal being formed. Suitable high level, low level and positive shut-off liquid level control electrodes are preferably provided as disclosed in more detail in our above-mentioned Patent 2,966,021 for facilisealed together at each end of the container to form upper and lower transverse seams or end seals 54c, 54d, respectively. Said longitudinal edges may also be referred to as teterahedral edges. As'noted the container end seals 54c, 54d are disposed substantially inplanes at right angles to one another.
As will be observed from the drawings the longitudinal seam 54a extends across each of the angularly displaced end seals 54c, 54d intermediate their respective lateral edges or ends. Moreover the longitudinal seam 54a will be observed (FIG. 1) to traverse a portion of the surfaces of two adjoining triangular sides 54b of the container.
Attention is drawn to the locked condition of the seam 54a about the container contour, as shown at 70 in FIGS.
1 and 2. .The seam 54a is seen to be tightly folded against adjacent container sides 54b and so oriented as to be locked around the tetrahedral edge 54c forming the line of intersection'of their planes. In this respect, it will be observed that the seam 54a intersects said tetrahedral edge 54e at '70 at an oblique angle and is in effect twisted around said edge 54e. With this construction, the portions of seam 54a extending from said edge 54e to the ends ofthe container are constrained to lie substantially flat against the surfaces of the two adjoining triangular sides 54b of the container which are traversed by the seam 54a. It is found that the seam 54:: thus locked to r the container proper cannot be accidentally snagged or torn outwardly from the container where it might be inadvertently opened.
It has been found that liquids, especially those subject to spoiling, may be stored for indefinite periods of time in the illustrative container without leakage of liquid outwardly'or passage of 'air inwardly. One of the advantageous features of the exterior package seam 54a is that gas containing liquids such as carbonated beverages and the like may be effectively stored over long periods of time'without dissipation of the gas pressure within the container.
As those skilled in the art will readily observe from the drawings and the foregoing description, provision in the illustrative containers of the external type longitudinal and transverse seams assures than no cut edge of the container stock is exposed to the container contents. In this respect, as can be seen fromthe drawings, the illustrative containers differ markedly from prior containers having overlapping type seams in which a cut and thus unprotected edge of the paper or other container stock is exposed to the container contents, absorbs part of them and becomes weakened or even disintegrates, ultimately causing leakage of the contents through the seams.
We claim as our invention:
1. A flexible dispensing container for liquid, granular or other fluent substances comprising a web of thin flexible heat scalable material folded into a tube with marginal portions of the web sealed together inside face to inside face and folded over toward an unsealed portion to form a substantially flat seam extending longitudinally of the tube, and opposing marginal portions of the tube at each end sealed together and disposed substantially in planes at an angle of more than relative to each other to form a four-sided container having four triangular sides and four tetrahedral edges which extend from end-to-end of the container, the longitudinally extending tube-forming seam extending across each of the angularly displaced end seals in a zone between the lateral edges of each of said end seals, traversing a portion of the surfaces of two adjoining triangular sides of the container intersecting the one of said four tetrahedral edges of the container common to said two adjoining triangular sides at an oblique angle, and being twisted around said one tetrahadral edge, whereby theportions of said longitudinally extending tube-formingseam extending from said one tetrahedral edge to the ends of the container are constrained to lie substantially flat against the surfaces of i said two adjoining triangular sides of the container.
2. A flexible dispensing container for liquid, granular or other fluent substances comprising a web of thin,'
flexible, laminated material heat sealable on one face only and folded into a tube having its inside face joinable to itself by the application of heat and pressure, the tube having a longitudinally extending seam consisting of marginal portions of the tube heat'sealed together inside face against inside face, the closures being substantially flat and in planes disposed at substantially a right angle to each other to produce a four-sided container having four triangular sides and four tetrahedral edges which extend from end-to-end of the container, the longitudinal tube forming seam extending entirely across the closure at each end of the/container at a position between the lateral edges of each of said closures, traversing a portion of the surfaces of two adjoining triangular sides of the container, intersecting the one of said four tetrahedral edges of the container common to said two adjoining triangular sides at an oblique angle, and being twisted around said one tetrahedral edge, whereby the portions of said longitudinally extending tube-forming seam extendrng from said one tetrahedral edge to the ends of the container are constrained to lie substantially flat against the surfaces of said two adjoining triangular. sides of the container.
3. A four-sided container made from a single sheet of thin, flexible, laminated material having one heatsealable and moisture-resistant face, no cut edge of such material being exposed to the contents of such container, opposing longitudinal edge portions of said sheet being heat-sealed together inside'face to inside face to form a tube having a longitudinally extending seam and presenting an uncut, heat-sealable and moisture-resistant inner surface, opposing marginal portions of the tube at each end being heat-sealed together to form end seals disposed at planes at an angle of between about 60 and to each other to form a container having four substantially triangular sides and four tetrahedral edges which extend from end-to-end of the container, said longitudinally extending seam being folded toward the outer surface of the container and extending across each of the angular displaced end seals, traversing a portion of the outer surface of two adjoining, triangular sides of the container, intersecting the one of said four tetrahedral edges of the container common to said two adjoining triangular sides at an oblique angle, and being twisted around said one tetrahedral edge, whereby the container tends to hold the portions of said longitudinal seam extending from said one tetrahedral edge to the ends of the container in substantially flat, folded position close to the outer surface of said two adjoining triangular sides of the container.
4. A flexible dispensing container comprising a web of thin flexible heat scalable material folded into a tube with marginal portions of the web sealed together inside face to inside face and folded over toward an unsealed portion to form a substantially ilat seam extending longitudinally or" the tube, and opposing marginal portions or" the tube at each end sealed together and disposed substantially in vplanes at 90 degrees relative to each other to form a four-sided container having four triangular sides, and four tetrahedral edges which extend from endto-end of the container, the longitudinally extending, tubeforming seam extending across each of the angularly displaced end seals in a zone between the lateral edges of each of said end seals, traversing a portion of the surfaces of two adjoining triangular sides of the container, intersecting the one of four tetrahedral edges of the container common to said two adjoining triangular sides at an oblique angle, and being twisted around said one tetrahedral edge, whereby the portions of said longitudinally extending tube-forming seam extending from said one tetrahedral edge to the ends of the container are constrained to lie substantially fiat against the surfaces of said two adjoining triangular sides of the container.
5. A filled package comprising a length of tubing formed from a web of flexible packaging material which is heat-sealable on one face, said web being formed into the tubing with its said one face on the inside of the tubing and with side marg'ns of the web in inside-faceto-inside-face engagement and heat-sealed together throughout the length of the tubing to form an insideface-to-inside-face external longitudinal seam for the tubing on the outside of the tubing, said tubing being transversely flattened at each end and having its opposite walls at its ends heat-sealed together in insideface-to-inside-face relation at said ends to form flat inside-face-to-inside-face end seals for the tubing, said end seals lying in planes which extend longitudinally with respect to the tubing and at such an angle to one another that the package has the shape of a tetrahedron with four triangular faces and four longitudinal edges constituting the sides of said triangular faces, each edge extending "from a respective end of one end seal to a respective end of the other end seal, said external longitudinal seam exending longitudinally of the package from a point intermediate the ends of one end seal on the outside of a first of said triangular faces to a point intermediate the ends of one of the longitudinal edges of the package constitutin one of the sides or" said fast triangular lace and also constituting one of the sides of a second triangular face of the package adjacent said first triangular fiace, said external longitudinal seam intersecting said one longitudinal edge at an oblique angle and then angling and twisting around said one longitudinal edge to said second triangular tace and extending long'tudinally of the package on the outside of said second triangular 'face to a point intermediate the ends of the other end seal of the package, said external longitudinal seam being folded over and lying substantially fiat on the outside of said first and second triangular faces and said end seals and being constrained to lie substantially flat on the outside of said first and second triangular faces and said end seals by the angling and twisting thereof around said one longitudinal edge of the package.
6. A filled package as set forth in claim 5 wherein said end seals lie in planes substantially at right angles to one another.
References in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,234,665 Vogt Mar. 4, *1941 2,341,056 Moore Feb. 8, 1944 2,374,793 Waters May 1, 1945 2,628,764 Rubinstein et a1 Feb. 17, 1953 2,741,979 Rausing Apr. 10, 1956 2,919,888 Jar-11nd Jan. 5, 1960