US 3198681 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
g- 3, 1965 R. WATTS, JR 3,198,681
PACKAGE Filed April 18, 1951 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR.
/P/DLV M1775 12.
United States Patent M 3,198,631 PACKAGE Ridley Watts, In, Cleveland, Ohio, assignor to The American Packaging Corporation, Cleveland, Ohio, :1 corporation of Ohio Filed Apr. 18, 1961, Ser. No. 103,937 7 Claims. (Ci. 156-196) This invention pertains to packaging articles and more particularly to a display package and a method of making such a package.
In present day merchandising, many articles are packaged in separate units. Retail products are often packaged in separate units in order to show the products attractively against a display background, which can contain art-work, illustrations of use, trademark, and price. Packages for separate units facilitate self service sales, serve as protection in shipment and deter pilferage.
In packages which accomplish this type of display, each unit of articles to be sold is mounted on an individual display card. This unit is covered with a transparent plastic material which fixes it to the display card. A number of types of packages have been devel oped which fall in this general class of display package. Presently the two most popular types are known as skin packaging and bubble packaging (sometimes referred to as blister packaging). type falling within this general class.
In bubble packaging a cup, contoured to the shape of the product, is molded from relatively heavy plastic film. This cup, known as a bubble or blister, provides a cavity of sufficient size to receive the product to be displayed. The bubble is formed with a peripheral flange so that it can be attached to a display card, either by heat scaling to the face of an adhesive treated card or by being held within a folding card containing an aperture which permits the bubble to protrude from the face of the card while gripping it by its flange.
Bubble packaging is costly for several reasons. One of these is that a rather high-grade and heavy gauge transparent plastic material is required because the bubble must be relatively rigid. Another reason is that bubbles are bulky and, thus, expensive to ship and store because of the excessive space required. In addition, the processing of packaging a product in a bubble package is relatively slow and time-consuming.
The more recently developed skin packaging is more economical than bubble packaging for many products but it, too, has certain inherent drawbacks. With the most common form of skin packaging, an adhesive is applied to the front of a card. The adhesive, after it has dried, is perforated. The article to be packaged is then positioned on the card. A heat softened plastic film is then vacuum drawn down over the article and onto the card to simultaneously form a protective covering over the article and bond the plastic sheet to the face of the display card.
Since, in skin packaging, the heat softened film is drawn down over the article itself, an article which has sharp corners, projections, or undercuts will cause the film to puncture. For this reason, it is only possible to skin package relatively smoothly contoured products. Another disadvantage of skin packaging is that a rather substantial amount of processing equipment is required. A manufacturer wishing to skin package his product must either make an inordinant investment in packaging equipment or he must ship his products to a custom packager. Thus, the product manufactureris faced with the rather distasteful choice of selecting either the expense of putting in packaging equipment or the expense of shipping his product to a custom packager.
Shrink packages are another 3,198,681 Patented Aug. 3, 1965 Skin packaging is also a diflicult operation. Slight variations in temperature, humidity, porosity of board, oven heat and film can cause package failures. Many manufacturers have abandoned skin packaging or refused to use it because of the difliculty of making dependable packages.
Shrink packaging is accomplished by stretching a plastic film while hot, and soft, to form a relatively large cavity to accommodate an article. After the article has been positioned in the cavity the film is heated to shrink it into tight abutment with the product. Cost, suscep tibility to puncturing, and the complexity of manufacturing, loading, and assembly are all drawbacks which limit the use of shrink packages.
The products which can be packaged with skin and shrink packages are limited because the product is contacted, in each case, by the film when it is hot and soft. The product must, then be a composition which will not be bonded to the film under these conditions. For example, attempts have been made to manufacture skin packages with polyethylene film. The use of polyethylene films has been limited because of its highly adhesive characteristics. Many products cannot be skin packaged with polyethylene because the polyethylene would become bonded to the product itself. There are other reasons why these attempts to use polyetheylene have never been fully satisfactory. One is that polyethylene tends to cause the display board to curl. Another is that polyethylene film is relatively highly susceptible to tearing when heat softened and drawn over a product.
The present invention provides a new package in which the advantages of skin, bubble, and shrink packaging are incorporated into a single package. In addition, several very positive and additional advantages not provided in any prior package are obtained. With this invention the simplicity and economies even greater than those of skin packaging are obtained. As in bubble packaging, the product manufacturer can package his own merchandise without first making a substantial investment in packaging equipment. In addition, a package of superior appearance is obtained.
With the package of this invention a card is cut to provide an aperture of the contour of all or part of an object to be packaged. In the preferred form this cut or slit does not circumscribe the aperture, but rather leaves the severed portion of the card as a flap which is selectively positionable into alignment with the remainder of the card to provide a door for the package aperture. A film of thin flexible plastic material is adhered to the face of the card along an interface which circumscribes the aperture and the space to be occupied by the product. The portion of the film within the circumscribing interface is formed in a pocket of the contour of the object to be packaged in a novel manner which will be described in detail below.
One of the principal advantages of this invention resides in the fact that this pocket is formed of a thin flexible material. The pocket can be flattened and the packages can then be packed in a container for shipment to a product manufacturer. Each package so shipped is an integral unit ready for use. The product manufacturer need not assemble any elements to complete a package as with bubble packages. Further, the space required to store the packages before use is minimized.
In packaging products, the manufacturer need only open the flap, insert the product reforming the pocket outwardly to its original and molded contour, close the flap, and then secure the flap. The flap may be secured in a closed position by such a simple expedient as a small piece of pressure sensitive tape or a label. The product manufacturer, then, can package its own products without specialized packaging equipment.
mold is either supported cantilever fashion or by a flexible hinge like strap. In either event the. flap nests under th mold during the pocket forming operation.
One of the greatest practical advantages of this invention is that the inventory of the products to be packaged can be reduced. With prior packaging techniques, it was important to package large groups of products at one tim to obtain economies and efiiciencies. The present pack age, on the other hand, readily lends itself well to both the packaging of a few units at a time and to packaging large numbers of units with a completely automated packagaing line. If products are packaged differently for different channels of distribution, they can be packaged quickly and efficiently as orders are received as opposed to the prior practice of prepacking relatively large numbers of units for each channel of market distribution. Similarly, since there is no need to ship products to a custom packager, the inventory requirements are reduced. The ability to package in small quantities just prior to shipment is also very important in the case of products with poor shelf life. Such products can often not be run in large quantities and held for several weeks or months.
As the proceeding discussion suggests, the objects of this invention are to provide a novel and improved package, a method of package manufacture and an apparatus for such manufacture.
Other objects and a fuller understanding of the invention may be had by referring to the following description and claims taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of the improved platen of this invention showing a sheet of cards in the process of being positioned on the platen;
FIGURE 2 is :a sectional view corresponding to FIG- URE 1 showing the sheet positioned on the platen, a film' of plastic above the platen, and a heater for softening the film;
FIGURE 3 is a perspective view showing the sheet being stripped from the platens after the film has been secured to the card and stretched to form pockets;
FIGURE 4 is a perspective view of a finished package;
FIGURE 5 is an exploded perspective view showing the product being inserted in the package; and,
FIGURES 6 through 8 are views of the finished packages, showing various means of retaining the product in the package.
Referring now to the drawings, a platen is shown generally at 10. The platen 10 has a plurality of vacuum passages !11 which extend from a vacuum chamber 12 to the upper face 13 of the platen 10. A manifold 14 is secured to the lower wall of the platen'to define the vacuum chamber 12. A vacuum source 15 is secured to the manifold 14 to provide the required vacuum.
A plurality of molds 17 are connected to and form a part of the platen. Each of the molds 17 is contoured to the shape of the object to be packaged. The molds 17 are supported more or less cantilver fashion by the remainder of the platen 10. In the preferred and disclosed arrangement, this support takes the form of a plurality of thin, flexible hinge straps 18 each of which is secured to one end of one of the molds 17 and the platen.
In manufacturing packages in accordance with this invention, a stiff backing sheet of card stock 20 is first provided. This backing sheet 20 is die cut at spaced locations to form a plurality of product-receiving apertures 21. In each case the die cut is contoured to the shape of all or part of the product to be packaged. This cut or slit forms an aperture by cutting along all sides save one. The severed but still connected portions of the sheet provide a plurality of flaps 22. i
In preparing the sheet 20 for the formation of a package, the normal first step will be to print the card to provide decorative and informative indicia on one or both faces of the sheet. Next, an adhesive may be applied to those portions of the sheet which will be bonded to the plastic film. After the adhesive is dried it will be perforated to permit the vacuum to operate on the film. If a film, such as polyethylene is used which does not require an adhesive, these adhesive application and perforation steps are eliminated.
The sheet 29 shown in FIGURE 1 has been printed and cut. Here the sheet 20 is in the process of being positioned on the platen '16. Each of the flaps 22 has bee bent downwardly somewhat in order that one of the molds 17 may pass through each of the product-receiving apertures 21. When the sheet '28 is fully positioned on the platen 19 it assumes the position shown in FIGURES 2 and 3.
Here the molds 17 are each resting on top of the sheet 2t) primarily if not entirely on a corresponding one of th flaps 22. The card lie flat on the upper face of the platen 16 with each of the straps 18 extending through a corresponding slit defining a corresponding product-receiving apertures 21 and flap 22.
After the sheet 26, has been placed in the position shown in FIGURE 2 a sheet of thermoplastic transparent and stretchable film 25 is positioned over the card and molds. The film 25 is softened by heaters 26 until it is in a suitably plastic condition. Next, the film 25 is draped over the molds and sheet and the vacuum is applied. The created pressure differential permits the ambient air pressure to press the heat softened plastic film 25 down against the molds 17 and the sheet 2i). This brings the plastic film into tight bonding abutment with the entire face of th sheet 20 with the exception of those portions which are masked oif by the molds 17. The film is drawn over the molds 17 to assume the contour of the object to be packaged and form a protective and encasing pocket for the object.
After the film has cooled sufficiently so that the bond of the film to the card is permanent and positive and so that the formed pockets have permanently assumed the contour of the object to be packaged, the sheet and attached film are stripped from the mold. Next the sheet 20 and connected film are cut into a plurality of individual package cards, one of which is shown at 36*, in FIGURES 4 through 8.
The packages are then flattened, packed, and shipped to the product manufacturer.
In packaging the product, a bottle designated by the numeral 35 in the example shown in FIGURES 6 and 5, the product manufacturer first bends the flap 22 to the position shown in FIGURE 5. Next the product 35 is inserted through the aperture into the pocket causing the pocket to reassume its original and molded shape. Either simultaneously with the pressing of the product into the pocket, or thereafter, the flap 22 is brought inwardly against the back of the product and fiush with the remainder of the card. Finally the flap 22 is secured in its closed position as by attaching a piece of tape 36 to the back of the card 30.
A. finished package card 30 utilizing the advantages of this invention may take forms other than that previously described. The fiap 22 may be eliminated and the aperture can be closed in other manners. A piece of tape or a label may be positioned across the back of the aperture to retain the product therein. This is shown in FIGURE 7 where, as in FIGURE 8, the product is a roll of tape. Alternately, a card of the fold-over type may be used in which the card is folded on itself to close the aperture, FIGURE 8. The folded portions 40, 41 are bonded together, at their interface, by a suitable adhesive. With the arrangements of FIGURES 7 and 8 additional strength is obtained because the aperture peripherally embraces and supports the product.
Whichever card is used, a package is obtained which is highly efiicient and simply to manufacture. Because the large sheet 2% is cut to individual cards 3% after pockets are formed the cutting of the sheet and trimming of it are combined in a single operation. Further, the set-up time prior to forming pockets is greatly reduced since a number of pockets are formed simultaneously on a single large sheet. Thus, it is not necessary to position each individual card accurately in the pocket forming machine. The skin packaging requirement of jig orientating each product on its associated card is eliminated. The molds readily and accurately become properly positioned relative to the sheet when the sheet is inserted in the platen.
While the invention has been described with a great deal of detail it is believed it comprises a package with a flexible pocket on a card and a product aperture in the card sized to accommodate the product to be packaged. The invention also includes a novel and improved method and apparatus for making such a package.
Although the invention has been described in its preferred form with a certain degree of particularity, it is understood that the present disclosure of the preferred form has been made only by Way of example and that numerous changes in the details of construction and the combination and arrangement of parts may be resorted to Without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention as hereinafter claimed.
What is claimed is:
1. The process of forming packages with a platen having a plurality of molds secured thereto comprising, die cutting a sheet to provide a plurality of product-receiving apertures, passing each of the molds through one of the apertures, bringing the sheet into flush abutment with the upper face of the platen with each such mold positioned to extend above the upwardly directed face of the card, heat softening a plastic film, creating a pressure differential to draw the film down over the molds and into bonding abutment with the face of the sheet, and thereafter stripping the sheet and the bonded film from the platen and molds.
2. The process of forming packages with a platen having a plurality of molds ecured thereto comprising, die cutting a sheet to provide a plurality of product-receiving apertures and flaps for selectively closing the apertures, passing each of the molds through one of the apertures wh'le simultaneously at least partially positioning each flap beneath an associated mold, bringing the sheet into flush abutment with the upper face of the platen'with each such mold positioned to extend above the upwardly directed face of the sheet, heat softening a plastic film, creating a pressure differential to draw the film down over the molds and into bonding abutment with the face of the sheet, and
thereafter stripping the sheet and the bonded film from the platen and molds.
3. The process of packaging a product comprising: (a) forming a package according to the steps of claim (b) thereafter flattening a pocket formed by drawing the film over one of said molds; and
(c) reforming the pocket by passing a product through the card aperture into the pocket.
4. In an apparatus for making packages including a platen having a plurality of passages extending to a top surface of the platen, and means for drawing air through the passages, the combination of, a plurality of molds secured to the platen in spaced relationship with one another, each of the molds being contoured to the shape of an object to be packaged and means connecting molds to the platen with each mold in at least partially spaced relationship with the platen to provide a flap-receiving space between each mold and the platen.
5. The device of claim 4 wherein the means connecting the mold to the platen comprises a thin, flexible strap connected at one end to a mold and at the other end to the platen.
6. In an apparatus for making packages including a platen having a plurality of passages extending to a top surface of the platen, means for drawing air through the passages, the combination of, said platen including afiat surface adapted to receive a card, a plurality of molds secured to the platen, each of the molds being contoured to the shape of the object to be packaged, and means connecting the molds to the platen with the molds in spaced relationship with one another and projecting upwardly from said fiat surface to provide a plurality of positioned pocket defining molds.
'7. The device of claim 6 wherein the means connecting the mold to the platen is flexible.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,861,404 11/58 Stratton 53-22 2,861,405 11/58 Hanford 5322 2,874, 83 6 2/59 Wertepny 20678 2,950,004 8/60 Acornb 20678 3,004,661 10/ 61 Schumann 206-78 3,025,952 3 62 Phipps 206-78 FOREIGN PATENTS 784,503 10/ 5 7 Great Britain.
OTHER REFERENCES Trap-door Blister, an article in Modern Packaging, September 1957, page 119.
EARL M. BERGERT, Primary Examiner.
ALEXANDER WYMAN, F. T. GARRETT, Examiners.