US 3184054 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
y 18, 1965 R. KUHLMAN 3,184,054
PACKAGE Filed July 13, 1962 INVENTOR. K/c/Mw Kw/zMA/v United States Patent 3,1s4,o54 PAKIKAGE Richard Kuhlman, Summit, N.J., assignor to Radio Corporation of America, a corporation of Delaware Filed July 13, 1962, Ser. No. 209,548 1 Claim. (Cl. 206-56) This invention relates to packages, and particularly to an improved package having special utility for individually and bulk packaging electron tubes for shipment. Although the improved package of this invention may be used for packaging devices such as spark plugs, bulbs, lamps, electronic components, and the like, the invention will be described in connection with electron tubes.
Electron discharge tubes are fragile articles requiring careful packaging to prevent damage during shipment. When shipped in large volumes to manufacturers using tubes in electronic equipment and the like, the tubes are generally bulk packed within compartmentized trays, the trays being stacked within large shipping containers. When shipped to distributors for individual or small volume resale, the tubes are individually packaged in cartons, batches of cartons being packaged within larger cartons or open sleeves. It is thus apparent that the tube manufacturer and shipper employ at least two entirely difierent modes of packaging, each mode using a compiete set of storage facilities, package loading apparatus, and the like.
An object of this invention, therefore, is to provide an improved package for electron tubes and the like having utility in the shipment of articles packaged individually and in bulk.
The cartons generally used for individually packaging the electron tubes comprise a tubular paperboard folding carton comprising an outer sleeve, a separate or integral inner liner, and end flaps which are tucked into the carton. For economy of space and for ease of handling, the cartons are stored in a flat, collapsed state. In packaging the tubes within such cartons each carton is expanded into tubular form, a tube inserted therein, and the end flaps tucked into the carton to close it. The expense of individually packaging tubes in such cartons is high due to the high cost of the cartons and the great amount of labor required in loading and closing the cartons and loading the closed cartons into the larger cartons or sleeves.
A further object of this invention, therefore, is to provide an improved package for electron tubes and the like wherein the cost of the package and the amount of labor required to load tubes therein are greatly reduced over the cost and amount of labor involved using prior art packages.
For achieving these objects in accordance with one embodiment of this invention, a tray is provided comprising a number of individual compartment units connected together by means of breakable connecting links or bridges. Each tray compartment is adapted to receive snugly therein a single electron tube. Although the individual compartments may be easily broken and separated from the tray, for reasons to be described, the loaded tray is selfsupporting and has sufficient strength to permit handling and stacking of loaded trays within containers for bulk shipment to equipment manufacturers. For shipment to distributors and eventual sale as individually packaged tubes, a tubular sleeve is provided which is adapted to he slid over each loaded tray. The sleeve is provided with weakened wall areas in general alignment, when in place, with the breakable connections between the tray compartments. Individually packaged tubes may thus be provided by breaking oil single tray compartments including the 3,l84,95d Patented May 18, 1%65 sleeve portion surrounding them from the larger sleeveenclosed tray.
in the drawing:
FIG. 1 is a view in perspective of an electron tube package which may be made according to this invention, the loaded tray being partially inserted within its enclosing sleeve;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the package shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a section viewed along line 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a view in perspective of an individual tube package as it is being broken away from a bulk package of tubes;
FIG. 5 is a top plan View of a further embodiment of the invention having utility for bulk packing and shipment of electron tubes; and,
FIG. 6 is an end View of a further embodiment of this invention.
With reference to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, a tray it) is provided comprising a plurality of elongated compartments 1?. each having side walls 14, end walls 15, and a bottom wall 16 having a hole 17 therethrough. Adjacent compartments 12 are spaced apart and connected by thin links or webs 2%) connecting the bottom walls of adjacent compartments. As will be described hereinafter, the Webs 20 permit easy breakage and separation of the tray compartments 12 from one another. The webs 20, however, are of suflicient strength to provide a self-supporting and relatively rigid tray which may be handled after being fully loaded with tubes without danger of the tray breaking apart. The side walls 14 are provided with inwardly extending ribs 22, preferably two in number on each wall. Also, corners 24 of the tray may be rounded, for reasons to be described. Each tray compartment 12 is adapted to receive an electron tube snugly therein. The tray may be made of any shock absorbent, semi-flexible and resilient material, preferably moldable for ease of fabrication of the tray. Examples of such materials presently preferred are plastics known as expandable polystyrene and polyurethanes.
A feature of the tray is that each compartment is adapted to accommodate in snug fit therein tubes of Varied dimensions. A snug fit of the tubes within the tray compartments 12 is provided by engagement of ribs 22 with the sides of the tube, no engagement being required between the end walls 15 and the ends of the tube. Hence, tubes of dilierent lengths may be accommodated. Tubes having different diameters may be accommodated within the tray compartments due to the yieldable nature of the tray material. Upon insertion of a large size tube into a compartment 12, the ribs 22 are crushed and the side walls 14 are flexed outwardly, the space 26 provided between the side walls 14 of adjacent compartments permitting unimpeded limited outward fiexure of the side walls. Although crushed, the ribs 22 retain their resiliency and provide a snug, cushioning support and friction fit with the electron tubes. The purpose of holes 17 in bottom walls 16 is to permit insertion of a finger or object for dislodging or removing the tube snugly contained within each compartment 12. 7
As mentioned, the trays are of sufiicient strength permitting handling after tubes have been loaded therein. For the purposes of bulk shipment of tubes, loaded trays may be stacked within'largc cartons or containers (not shown). Due to the shock-absorbent nature of the tray material and the snug loading of the tubes therein, it has been found that such tube packages provide excellent protection to the tubes during shipment. Larger trays 11, as shown in FIG. 5, may also be used, such trays comprising rows and columns of compartments 12 connected by breakable webs 20.
With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, a sleeve 30 which may be used with a tray 10 is shown, the sleeve 30 comprising a folded-over and glued sheet of stiff material, such as paperboard. The sleeve is divided into a number of sec tions 32 separated by weakened wall areas which may comprise lines of perforations 34 encircling the sleeve. Each section 32 is of a width substantially equal to the width of one tray compartment 12 plus one connecting web 20. Hence, when the sleeve 30 is slid lengthwise onto the tray, each line of perforations 34 is positioned about midway between adjacent tray compartments (FIG. 4). The sleeve 30 is of such size to provide a sliding, but snug fit with the tray, the rounded corners 24 of tray 10 facilitating insertion of the tray into the sleeve. For reasons which will become clear hereinafter, only trays 10 comprising a single row of connected tray compartments are used in connection with sleeves 30. The compartments may be end-wise or side-wise connected, but preferably side-wise to provide shorter, more conveniently handled trays. The single-row trays may be readily broken otf from the larger row and column trays 11.
The loaded tray-sleeve combination (FIG. 4), designated generally by the numeral 40, is a relatively rugged tube package which may be shipped by itself or stacked with other similar packages within a larger carton or shipping container. For providing individually and completely packaged tubes, each of the packages 40 may be broken apart into packages 42 comprising a single tray compartment 12 and an encircling sleeve section 32. To accomplish this, the end section to be broken off from the package 40 may be grasped and bent downwardly out of the plane of the package. The downward bending motion tears the sleeve at the perforation line 34 and breaks the connecting web 20 between the bottom wall of the end compartment and the bottom wall of the adjacent compartment.
As shown in FIG. 3, the connecting webs 20 between adjacent compartments 12 are located adjacent the lower ends of the compartments. The reason for this location of webs 20 is to permit downward bending of a compartment without engagement of the inner side wall 14 of this compartment with the outer side wall of the adjacent compartment; as would occur, for example, if the web were disposed mid-way of the height of the side walls. Such engagement would prevent further bending of the compartment being broken ofi. If the compartment 12 were not bent sufficiently at this time to break the connecting web 20, either a tearing motion or an excessive amount of bending force might be required to complete the break. Such tearing motions or use of excessive bending forces are undesirable since they would tend to crush and distort the tube package. Webs adjacent the upper ends of the tray compartments or perpendicular to the compartment side walls 14 may be used and would properly break on exertion of upward or sidewise bending forces, respectively. Lower end disposed webs are preferred, however, due to the tendency of users to bend downwardly.
By way of example, a tray 10 may comprise five sidewise connected compartments 12. Each compartment is 2% inches long, 1 inches wide, and 1 inch high, the inner width of the compartments being inch, and the height of ribs 22 extending from side walls 14 being inch. The length of the connecting webs and the space between adjacent compartments is inch, the Webs are 7 inch thick, and the side walls 14 have a thickness of inch. For trays having such dimensions and made of expandable polystyrene, tubes having a diameter between inch and inch may be accommodated, the smaller tubes fitting snugly between the ribs 22, the larger tubes causing some collapse of ribs 22 and outward flexure of side walls 14. The sleeve 30 is dimensioned to fit snugly about the tray in slidable fit therewith.
Advantages of the electron tube packages described are that the tubes may be quickly and efiiciently loaded into the tray compartments, no operation being required on the trays prior to or after the'tubes are loaded therein. Further, the sleeves are easily and quickly slidable onto the trays, and the cost of the package materials,it is found, is considerably less than the prior art individual tube type packages. Also, the individual tube packages 42 provide an excellent snug and cushioned support for the electron tube therein.
A modification of the package 40 described above is shown in FIG. 6. In place of the tubular sleeve 30 encircling the tray 10, a sheet 51 of paperboard or the like is used to close the tray compartments 12. Sheet 51 is provided with lines of perforations 53 which are disposed midway between adjacent tray compartments when the sheet is added to the loaded tray. The sheet 51 may be provided with a pressure-sensitive backing 52 permitting gluing or cementing of the sheetto the upper surfaces of the tray compartments upon engagement therewith. Sheet 51 may also be provided with side portions (not shown) which may be bent downwardly and secured to the end walls 15 of the compartments 12 to provide a more rigid package. Packages 54 provided by securing covering sheets 51 to the trays 19 may be used in similar fashion to packages 40, individually packaged tubes being breakable from the larger package 54. Further, sheets 51 may be used with trays 11 having rows and columns of trays, the sheet 51 having longitudinally and horizontally extending lines of perforations corresponding to the webs 20 between the tray compartments 12. Packages thus provided maybe used for bulk packaging or may be broken apart to provide individually packaged electron tubes.
It is clear that the advantages associated with packages 40 as described above are also associated with packages comprising trays 10 or 11 and cover sheets 51 secured thereto.
What is claimed is:
A package for electron tubes and the like including a self-supporting tray having a plurality of connected compartments, each of said compartments having yieldable side walls, end walls, and a bottom wall, a relatively thin web extending between adjacent compartments for connecting said compartments in spaced apart relation, said tray having upper surfaces, and said webs being disposed adjacent said bottom wall, and a flat closure member engaged with and cemented only to said upper surfaces and closing said compartments, said member having lines of perforations therein disposed between adjacent compartments of said trays.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,205,437 6 40 Ringler 2065 6 2,952,353 9/ Rohdin 20646 3,009,291 11/61 Blackmore 20656 3,021,001 2/ 62 Donofrio.
THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner.
EARLE J. DRUMMOND, GEORGE O. RALSTON,