Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3108708 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 29, 1963
Filing dateNov 10, 1959
Priority dateNov 10, 1959
Publication numberUS 3108708 A, US 3108708A, US-A-3108708, US3108708 A, US3108708A
InventorsThomas E Betner
Original AssigneePlastomatic Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Sealed plastic containers
US 3108708 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 29, 1963 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Nov. 10, 1959 T. E. BETNER SEALED PLASTIC CONTAINERS Oct. 29, 1963 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Nov. 10, 1959 United States Patent 3,108,708 SEALED PLASTIC CONTABIERS Thomas E. Betner, Bryn Mawr, Pa, assignor to Plastematic Corporation, Malvern, Pin, a corporation of Pennsylvania Filed Nov. 10, 195?, Ser. No. 852,040 3 Claims. (U. 220-54) This invention relates to plastic containers having body and re-usable cover members which are sealed together for shipment and display.

In accordance with the present invention, the body of the container may be of relatively thick molded plastic and the cover of the container, during shipment and display, consists of a plastic film peripherally sealed to a flange integral with the container body and outwardly extending from the open end thereof. For initial access to the container contents, the flange is torn, Wholly or in part, from the container body but remains attached throughout its peripheral length to the filrrr and with it forms a re-usable lid or cover for the opened container. To insure that such tearing of the flange does not leave the opened container with an irregular, jagged upper edge, and to permit opening of the sealed container Without use of any tool, even when the body is of tough plastic such as polypropylene or linear polyethylene, the upper face of the body flange is provided with a groove spaced inwardly from its outer edge to define a smooth inner boundary of the flange-to-fil-m seal and which, together with an opposed groove in the lower face of the body flange, defines a path, clear of the seal, along which the flange smoothly tears from the upper portion of thecontainer body.

More specifically, in some forms of the invention the flange grooves do not extend completely around the container body, so leaving an ungrooved flange section which, when the sealed container is opened, becomes an integral hinge for the captive cover formed by the film and the partially torn-off flange. In other forms of the invention, the opposed flange grooves extend completely around the container body so that the body flange becomes wholly detached from the container body and together with the plastic filmforms a free lid for the opened container.

The invention further resides in sealed plastic conta'iners having features of novelty and utility hereinafter described and claimed.

For a more complete understanding of the invention, reference is made in the following description of various embodiments thereof to the attached drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a flanged container body;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary side elevational View in section taken on line 22 of FIG. 1 'with the cover film applied;

FIG. 3, on enlarged scale, is a cEragment-ary side elevational view taken on line 33 of FIG. 1 with the cover film applied;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary side elev-ational view showing the opened container with its captive cover;

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of another form of flanged container body;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary side elevational view in section taken on line 66 of FIG. 5 with cover film applied;

FIG. 7 illustrates a method and apparatus of making sealed containers such as shown in FIGS. 2 and 6; and

FIG. 8, on enlarged scale and in section, illustrates a station of FIG. 7.

Referring to FIGS. 1 to 4, the body 10 of the container 11 may be formed, as by molding, from heat-sealing plastic material, such as polyethylene, polypropylene or the like. An integral flange 12 extends outwardly from the open end of the body as in some of the containers shown in my earlier Patents Nos. 2,837,236 and 2,887,244. The upper face of flange 12 is here however provided with a V-groove 13 spaced inwardly ifirom the free edge of the flange and extending parallel thereto continuously throughout a major part of the body perimeter leaving an ungrooved flange segment 14. The lower face of the body flange 12 is also provided with a V-groove 15 similarly spaced from the outer edge of the flange and of extent corresponding with that of groove 13 in the upper face or continuing across the segment 14.

Atter the container body is filled with its intended contents, a heat-sealing film cover'16 is applied over the open end of the container body and peripherally sealed thereto by application of heat and pressure. Suitable heat-sealing film's include polyethylene, coated cellophane and polypropylene.

Throughout the grooved portion of the flange, the inner boundary of the peripheral seal 17 between the body flange 12 and the film cover 16 is defined by groove 13 in the upper face of the flange (FIG. 3). Thus, even though the sealing pressure should be unevenly distributed, or if for any other reason the flange be unevenly compressed during the sealing operation, the heat-seal 17 cannot at any point extend inwardly beyond the tear line defined by the bases of the opposed grooves 13, 15. It is thus insured that the upper edge and rim of the opened container body will be smooth and clean when the flange is torn off as later described. At the hinge area of flange 12, the peripheral seal may be of the same width as throughout the rest of the peripheral sealing area, or it may be made of greater width by suitable dimensioning of the heat-sealing die. Any irregularities in the inner boundary of the seal within the limits of the hinge segment 14 of the body flange and the film cover 16 are not of consequence.

For initial access to the contents of the sealed container, the flange 12 is torn from the container body to the extent controlled by the opposed grooves 13, 15 and cleanly along the tear line jointly defined by them. The plastic cover film remains sealed to the torn-0E section of the body flange and to the hinge segment remaining attached to the body. There is no tear transversely of the torn-off portion of the flange or of the film 16. The tomoff flange thus serves as an unbroken rimfor the film and with it serves as a re-usable hinged cover for the open container. 7

To facilitate such tearing of the flange for initial access to the container contents, the flange 12 is provided with an integral outwardly extending tab section 18. As shown in FIG. 1, the tab is on the side of the container body which is opposite to the ungrooved hinge segment 14 of the body flange.

To open the sealed container, the tab 18 may be gripped between the thumb and finger as indicated in FIG. 2. Upon bending of the tab so gripped, the flange is locally broken at the bases of the opposed grooves 13, 15. As the tab is lifted, this break progressively extends in both directions toward the hinge segments as a smooth tear so that the body flange and attached film now form a hinged cover (FIG. 4). During lifting of the tab, the torn-off part of the flange is free temporarily to deform, without any appreciable restraint by the cover film, so that the applied tearing force is concentrated at the tearing points at the bases of the opposed V-notches 13, 15 of the as yet untorn portions of the flange.

The container above described has many advantages of significance to the manufacturer, to the merchant, and to the ultimate user. Since the container consists only of a plastic body and a piece of plastic film, it is very inexpensive and economically suitable for an extended range of inexpensive products, such as fruit juices and the like. Since the plastic body and plastic cover film are chemically inert to foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and the like, they are not contaminated by contact with the container material itself. Also since the cover film and body flange are heat-sealed to each other, the use ofadhesives with consequent likelihood of contamination of the container con tents is avoided. The cover 16 may be of transparent film for inspection and display of the contents of the sealed container. The cover film may have printing thereon identifying the product and/or the product-source and at cost substantially lower than with printed molded covers: the cover film may also have a tear-off coupon extending beyond the container body and bearing advertising, recipes or the like. Using film material of the usual heat-sealing types, the container is hermetically sealed by the cover film as sealed to the body flange. When the container contents are of nature requiring that the sealed container be able to breathe, such characteristic can be attained by use of film which has been irradiated or otherwise treated to obtain microporosity permitting passage of gas but precluding passage of moisture. The opposed grooves in the body flange with the film cover peripherally heat-sealed to the body flange outwardly of the grooves permits the housewife, for example, to open the sealed container without use of a knife or other tool and insures that the upper edge of the opened container will be smooth and clean of torn film. The reusable cover jointly formed by the original body flange and the cover sealed thereto is a captive cover whose hinge is formed by segment 14 of the original body flange and the overlying sealed film. The opened container may thus be used for covered storage of its partly depleted original contents.

If for any reason a free lid instead of a hinged lid is desired, the opposed grooves 13, in the upper and lower faces of the body flange are both extended, as shown in FIG. 5, completely around the body of the container. In this case, the flange-to-cover seal, as extending completely around the container, has its inner boundary defined by the upper groove 13 throughout the peripheral length of the body flange. As a sealed container, the type container shown in FIG. 6 has all of the advantages of the container previously herein described.

When tearing along the grooves 13, 15 is completed for initial access to the contents of the container of FIG. 6, the entire body flange is removed as an unbroken ring together with the adherent film cover which protected the container contents during shipment, storage and display. The original body flange now serves as a peripherally continuous stiffening ring for the otherwise useless film cover so that the cover film and the adherent body flange can now be used as a free-lid type of cover for the opened container. The gripping power of the re-usable lids may be enhanced by making the lower V-groove of slightly smaller radius tha the upper V-groove 13 and/ or by making at least one of the grooves with small serrations.

Although precut film covers can be applied and heatsealed about their peripheries to the individual containers of FIG. 2 or FIG. 6, there are cover-feeding and coverregistration problems in high-speed production which are avoided by the method and apparatus now described. Such method is described and claimed in my copending divisional application Serial No. 248,779, filed Dec. 31, 1962 Referring to FIG. 7, the filled containers are in succession fed, as by an intermittently operated conveyor 19, to a sealing station to which is also intermittently fed a continuous web 21 of plastic film. While the web and conveyor are at rest, a heat-sealing die 22 descends to press the web into contact with the upper face of the body flange 12 of the sealed container then in register at the sealing station. The lower sealing face of die 22 of course corresponds in shape and dimensions with the heat-seal to be effected between the cover film and the body flange. The inner edge of the sealing face of die 22 is in substantial register with the outer edge of groove 13 in the upper face of the body flange and the outer edge of that sealing face is in substantial register with the outer edge of the body flange, following the contour of the tab 18 when provided. During or after formation of the heat-seal between the outer peripheral area of the body flange and the web, the cutting die 23 descends to sever from the web 21 that portion of it now forming the film cover 16 of the container.

When the dies 22, 23 have been moved upwardly to clear the path of the now sealed container, the endless conveyor 19 is stepped to move the sealed container away from sealing station 20 and toward the transfer station 24. By this same step, the next container is advanced by conveyor 19 to the sealing station. The web 21 is also advanced a step to bring an uncut area thereof beneath the dies 22, 23 which thereupon are actuated as above described to form another sealed container.

Each sealed container in turn arrives at the transfer station 24 at which the vertically reciprocable member 25 lifts a sealed container out of a corresponding pocket 26 of the conveyor 19. A horizontally reciprocable member 27 pushes the lifted container off of conveyor 19 and preferably onto a second endless conveyor 28 which may operate continuously to feed a stream of sealed containers to a packing station-not shown. I

As indicated in FIG. 7, empty container bodies 10 may be placed on conveyor 19 suitably in advance of the sealing station 20. As each in turn arrives at a filling station 29, it receives a measured quantity of the intended contents as delivered thereto, for. example, by the discharge pipe 30 or equivalent of an associated filling machine-not shown.

The container bodies as deposited on conveyor 19 or equivalent may each have its flange 12 molded or precut to provide the integral tab 18 as shown in FIGS. 1 or 5. In such case, the container body must be properly oriented on the conveyor so that the table will not be cut off by die 23 at the sealing station. Preferably and to avoid such need for orientation, the container bodies may be molded with the flange 12 having throughout its peripheral length a width slightly greater than the width of tab 18 as measured from the outside of the tab to the inside of the container. The die 23 at the sealing station is now effective not only to cut a film cover from the web but also simultaneously to trim the body flange to size and to provide it with a tab 18.

The containers need not be of circular cross section as shown, but may be rectangular or any other desired shape or outline. It shall be understood that this and other modifications of the structures shown may be made within the scope of the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A container comprising a body'member having an integral flange surrounding said body member and extending outwardly from the open end thereof, the upper and lower faces of said flange each having a groove therein spaced inwardly from the outer edge of said flange and extending substantially completely around said body member with said groove in said lower face being spaced slightly fanther inwardly from said edge then said groove in said upper face whereby said grooves are substantially opposed but are slightly offset one from the other, and means for covering the open end of said body member during shipment and display consisting solely of a plastic film member peripherally heat-sealed only to the upper face of said flange outwardly from the groove therein, said offset grooves defining a path along which the portion of said flange located outwardly of said path may be torn from the remainder of said body member to permit direct initial access to the contents of the container and to form an unbroken stiffening for said film member sealed thereto to provide a free lid-cover adapted to be replaced in gripping relationship relative to the opened container so as to form a cover therefor.

2. A container comprising a body member having an integral flange surrounding said body member and extending outwardly from the open end thereof, the upper and lower faces of said flange each having a groove mil s eaves therein spaced inwardly from the outer edge of said flange and extending a major portion of the distance around said body member leaving a segment in said flange from which at least one of said grooves is absent, said groove in said lower face being spaced slightly ifiarther inwardly from said edge than said groove in said upper tam whereby said grooves are substantially opposed but slightly offset one from the other, and means for covering the open end of said body member during shipment and display consisting solely of a plastic film member peripherally heat-sealed only to the upper face of said body flange outwardly from the groove therein, said offset grooves defining a path along which the portion of said flange looated outwandly of said path except for said segment thereof may [be smoothly torn from the remainder of said body member Without restraint by said film member to permit direct initial access to the container and to form an unbroken stiffening rim for said film member sealed thereto to provide a captive hinged cover capable of gripping and reclosing said container.

3. A container comprising a heat scalable plastic body member having an integral flange surrounding said body member and extending outwardl from the open end thereof, the upper and lower faces of said flange each having a groove therein spaced inwardly from the outer edge of said flange and extending substantially completely around said body member with the inner portion of said groove in said lower face adjacent the inner portion of said groove in said upper face whereby said grooves are substantially opposed, and means for covering the open end of said body member during shipment and display consisting solely of a heat scalable plastic film member peripherally heat-sealed only to the upper [face of said flange outwardly from the groove therein, said grooves defining a path along which the portion of said flange located outwardly of said path may be torn from the remainder of said body member to permit direct initial access to the contents of the container and to form an unbroken stifiening rim for said film member sealed thereto to provide a iree lid-cover adapted to be replaced in gripping relationship relative to the opened container so as to form -a cover therefor.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,773,553 Taylor Aug. 19, 1930 2,784,539 Silver Mar. 12, 1957 2,804,987 Gaines Sept. 3, 1957 2,837,236 Betner June 3, 1958 2,887,244 Betner May 19, 1959 2,899,782 Haidegger Aug. 18, 1959 2,941,660 Tupper June 21, 1960

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1773553 *Jun 30, 1926Aug 19, 1930Parkin Ledgard SamuelClosure for paper or other containers
US2784539 *Aug 20, 1952Mar 12, 1957Louis SilverPackage and methods for making the same
US2804987 *Mar 12, 1956Sep 3, 1957Gaines Marjorie ASealing ring for containers
US2837236 *Mar 3, 1954Jun 3, 1958Betner Thomas ERe-usable container with disposable cover
US2887244 *Feb 26, 1958May 19, 1959Plastomatic CorpRe-usable plastic containers
US2899782 *Mar 1, 1954Aug 18, 1959 Method of manufacture of packing
US2941660 *Nov 27, 1953Jun 21, 1960Tupper CorpProcess of packaging and packaging structure
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3217951 *Mar 1, 1962Nov 16, 1965Fr Hesser Maschinenfabrik Ag FClosure means for containers
US3276616 *Feb 5, 1964Oct 4, 1966Continental Can CoPlastic container and closure and method of forming the same
US3371848 *Oct 24, 1966Mar 5, 1968Anderson Bros Mfg CoReclosable package
US3391849 *Aug 11, 1966Jul 9, 1968Phillips Petroleum CoPlastic containers having resealable tops
US3398876 *Feb 6, 1967Aug 27, 1968Anderson Bros Mfg CoReclosable package
US3398877 *Apr 10, 1967Aug 27, 1968Anderson Bros Mfg CoReclosable package
US3483964 *Jun 12, 1968Dec 16, 1969American Can CoEasy-open blister container
US3495759 *Apr 24, 1968Feb 17, 1970Anderson Bros Mfg CoReclosable package
US3515334 *Apr 24, 1968Jun 2, 1970Anderson Bros Mfg CoPackage with tear strip
US3561668 *Aug 23, 1966Feb 9, 1971Anderson Bros Mfg CoSealed package
US3951331 *May 29, 1974Apr 20, 1976Phillips Petroleum CompanyReclosable closure
US4098189 *Sep 28, 1976Jul 4, 1978Harry HolmMethod and apparatus for preparing an explosive charge
US4905838 *Dec 2, 1988Mar 6, 1990Idemitsu Petrochemical Co., Ltd.Easily-openable packaging container having notched inner surface layer
US5020686 *Nov 29, 1989Jun 4, 1991Continental Plastics, Inc.Closure for a resealable container
US5069355 *Jan 23, 1991Dec 3, 1991Sonoco Products CompanyEasy-opening composite closure for hermetic sealing of a packaging container by double seaming
US5178293 *Aug 7, 1991Jan 12, 1993Idemitsu Petrochemical Co., Ltd.Easily-openable packaging container
US5244145 *Mar 10, 1993Sep 14, 1993Westvaco CorporationTwo way opening for a tray type carton
US5353943 *Mar 15, 1993Oct 11, 1994Sonoco Products CompanyEasy-opening composite closure for hermetic sealing of a packaging container by double seaming
US5429833 *Jul 2, 1993Jul 4, 1995Redex Packaging CorporationRecloseable modified atmosphere clamshell package
US5758793 *Aug 26, 1996Jun 2, 1998Weatherchem CorporationReclosable top for can
US20120318801 *Mar 1, 2011Dec 20, 2012Amcor Flexibles Kreuzlingen Ltd.Container with closing membrane
USRE31759 *Jun 17, 1982Dec 11, 1984A/S Haustrup PlasticContainer with lid opening means
DE1295469B *Oct 17, 1967May 14, 1969Anderson Bros Mfg CoWieder verschliessbarer Kunststoffbehaelter
EP0241002A2 *Apr 7, 1987Oct 14, 1987Sumitomo Bakelite Company LimitedProcess for manufacturing easy-to-open containers
EP0241002A3 *Apr 7, 1987Jul 12, 1989Sumitomo Bakelite Company LimitedProcess for manufacturing easy-to-open containers
EP0379137A1 *Jan 16, 1990Jul 25, 1990Georg Dr. BolteEasy to open package
EP1930253A1 *Dec 6, 2007Jun 11, 2008Pregis Rigid Packaging LimitedContainer and method
WO1996026133A1 *Feb 23, 1995Aug 29, 1996Unifill International A/GA disposable container
WO2010010130A2 *Jul 22, 2009Jan 28, 2010Huhtamaki Ronsberg Zn Der Huhtamaki Deutschland Gmbh & Co. KgRe-closeable packaging with a peelable membrane
WO2010010130A3 *Jul 22, 2009Mar 18, 2010Huhtamaki Ronsberg Zn Der Huhtamaki Deutschland Gmbh & Co. KgRe-closeable packaging with a peelable membrane
Classifications
U.S. Classification220/269, 229/211, 229/123.3, 229/125.35, 229/207
International ClassificationB65D77/20
Cooperative ClassificationB65D77/2052, B65D77/2092, B65D2577/2083, B65D2577/205
European ClassificationB65D77/20E2B2B, B65D77/20E1B3B1