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Publication numberUS3221971 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 7, 1965
Filing dateJan 2, 1964
Priority dateJan 2, 1964
Also published asDE1267597B
Publication numberUS 3221971 A, US 3221971A, US-A-3221971, US3221971 A, US3221971A
InventorsRichard E Reny
Original AssigneeRichard E Reny
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Packaging tray
US 3221971 A
Abstract  available in
Images(1)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 7, 1965 R. E. RENY 3,221,971

PACKAGING TRAY Filed Jan. 2, 1964 fl L'ckmdzizzm BY M ATTORNEYS United States Patent Cfifice 3,221,971 Patented Dec, 7, 1965 3,221,971 PACKAGING TRAY Richard E. Reny, 3 Beverly Gardens, Bronxville, N.Y. Filed Jan. 2, 1964, Ser. No. 335,202 10 Claims. (Cl. 229-25) This invention relates to packaging trays, and more particularly to a molded pulp tray for packaging small consumer quantities of fruits, vegetables, bulk produce and the like.

Prior molded pulp packaging trays having upstanding side walls or edges have the disadvantage, from the consumer point of view, of preventing critical examination of the tray contents. Reduction in side wall or edge height has generally avoided this problem while resulting in a reduction of the quantity of pulp required for forming the tray but has suffered from the disadvantage of inadequate lateral support for the packaged articles with consequential package failure and damage to the contents thereof.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a molded pulp packaging tray involving a considerable saving in pulp material coupled with increased visibility of the articles packaged in the tray, as well as increased lateral support for articles packaged in the tray.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a molded pulp packaging tray comprising a substantially flat base or bottom with a plurality of upwardly curving fingers around the edge which are spaced to provide lateral support for the articles while at the same time permitting increased visibility of the lower portions of such articles.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a scalloped edge tray wherein the upright fingers are greatly strengthened against lateral forces by means of contoured depressions molded integrally with the tray.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a scalloped edge tray adapted to support articles in conjunction with a flexible overwrap.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent to one skilled in the art from a reading of the following description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein similar reference characters refer to similar parts, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of a molded pulp packaging tray according to this invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the tray of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary sectional view on line 3-3 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary sectional view on line 44 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view on line 55 of FIG. 3;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view on a reduced scale of a tray of this invention containing eight articles fully overwrapped by fiexible transparent film;

FIG. 7 is a perspective View on a reduced scale of the tray of FIG. 1 containing six articles overwrapped by a sleeve of flexible transparent film;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a molded pulp packaging tray of modified configuration; and

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a molded pulp packaging tray of yet another configuration.

Referring to the drawings, the preferred embodiment of molded pulp packaging tray 10 according to this invention is illustrated in FIGS. 1-5. Such a tray 10 comprises a substantially flat and rigid bottom portion 12 of generally rectangular shape, the underlying surface of the bottom portion 12 being suitable as an anchor surface for adhering the ends of overwrap film.

Around the periphery of the bottom portion 12 are a plurality of fingers 18 which curve upwardly therefrom and extend a substantial distance above the plane of the bottom portion to provide lateral support for articles resting on the tray. The arrangement of the spaced fingers is such that, as can be seen from the drawings, a scallop-like perimeter or edge is provided for the pack aging tray. From the drawings, it will be noted that the lateral boundary of the bottom portion 12 may, if desired, curve upwardly slightly as at 14 in the openings or spaces 16 between the fingers to provide additional support for certain types of articles. Aside from the utility and other improved results obtained by such construction, the important aspect of a shape generally pleasing to the average consumer eye is derived by such construction.

It will be noted that the tray of FIGS. 1 through 5 has the fingers 18 at the four corners thereof extending somewhat higher (FIG. 2) above the plane of the bottom portion 12 than the fingers 18 along the sides of the tray. This high ended arrangement is particularly desirable when articles positioned on the tray are to be overwrapped by open-end sleeves of flexible film which may not provide adequate lateral support at the ends of the tray. Additionally, the corner fingers 18 of such a tray project laterally somewhat further (FIG. 1) than the fingers 18 along the sides of the tray in the preferred embodiment.

Associated with each upstanding finger 18 is a depression 20 including a curved wall portion integrally merging with the tray 10, but being essentially of dissimilar curvature to afford increased rigidity of the finger portion in relation to the bottom portion. Each depression 20 takes the form of a dimple or recession protruding or depressed from the general contour of the tray. The upper portion of each depression, as can best be seen from FIG. 3, merges in a generally tangential manner with the upper portion of the side wall finger 18; similarly, the lower portion of the depression merges with the flat bottom portion 12 of the tray. On each side of each generally oval shaped depression 20, as seen in FIG. 5, the curved wall thereof blends or merges with the general shape of each upstanding finger 18. This compound curvature or rounded shape of each depression provides increased stability in all directions. While the depressions are illustrated as extending outwardly of the general confines of the container, inwardly extending depressions are contemplated for certain articles to provide the additional function of spacing articles on the tray. The corner or end fingers 18, which are higher than the side fingers in the preferred embodiment, include depressions 20 which are of proportionately increased size. The cross-sectional thickness of the molded pulp is substantially constant throughout the entire tray including the fiat bottom, upstanding fingers and strengthening depressions.

Around the periphery of the tray 10 following the scallop-like curvature of the fingers is a slightly thickened stacking bead 22 having an outer surface 24 occupying a plane substantially perpendicular to the major plane of the bottom portion 12. An overhanging shoulder 26 formed by the bead 22 is utilized in known manner for supporting the tray on a stack of trays, and the upper surface 28 formed by the head 22 serves to support other trays thereabove in a stack prior to packaging.

In FIG. 8, a modified configuration of molded pulp packaging tray 30 according to this invention is illustrated. This tray is of generally rectangular shape, but is considerably elongated over the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 5. The desired number of upstanding fingers, each including a strengthening depression, may be provided depending upon the length of the tray and the type of article to be packaged therein. In this embodiment, the upstanding fingers at the .ends of the tray have a width which carries them fully around the tray ends, and they are higher than the fingers along the sides of the tray. This tray is adapted for packing a single row of articles such as tomatoes or apples.

In FIG. 9, yet another configuration of molded pulp packaging tray 32 for fruit or other produce according to this invention is illustrated. This tray is of generally rectangular shape, again having the staggered arrangement of fingers in scallop-like array, with a strengthening depression for each finger. The fingers all extend the same height above the bottom portion of the tray, and the upward curvature between the upstanding fingers is extremely slight. The fingers along the sides of the tray extend farther laterally than do the four corner fingers. Rib means 34 provided on the bottom portion may be molded integrally in the tray during manufacture to facilitate the placing of articles in the tray, and to insure their remaining properly positioned during transportation.

In use, the molded pulp packaging tray of this invention may be filled with an assortment of articles including fruit, beans, ear corn, and the like. For instance, in FIG. 6, eight generally spherical articles are positioned on the bottom of a tray like the FIGS. 1-5 embodiment, one adjacent each upstanding finger. This provides utmost lateral support for the articles. In FIG. 7, on the other hand, a tray like the FIGS. 1-5, embodiment has been filled with only six generally spherical articles of somewhat increased size. In this instance, the articles are positioned adjacent the openings to extend between fingers slightly beyond the lateral confines of the tray for utmost visibility.

After articles or other produce have been positioned on the tray in the desired manner, flexible overwraps of any known variety may be applied to protect the articles as well as secure them in position on the tray. In FIG. 6, the flexible overwrap 38 is folded down on all four sides and adhered to the underlying surface of the bottom portion of the tray in known manner. In FIG. 7, the flexible overwrap 40 is of the sleeve or open-ended variety either heat shrunk around the articles in the tray or otherwise adhered to the underlying surfaces of the bottom portion of the tray. Other types of overwraps, it will be apparent, either transparent or opaque, with or without advertising or other markings, and with or without ventilation perforations, may be utilized with the molded pulp packaging tray of this invention.

Thus, an improved packaging tray has been disclosed which effects a substantial pulp material saving as compared with known straight edge walled trays. Furthermore, the visibility of articles packed in the disclosed trays is increased without sacrifice of lateral support as a resultof the strengthening depressions associated with each finger. The openings between fingers facilitate access to the articles on the tray for manually orienting them prior to overwrapping. Also, the scallop-like border of the tray provides a firm support for overwrapping film which enables the film to be stretched tighter along certain lines between articles, as will be clear, to provide additional separation of articles on the tray to prevent damage during shipment. The depressions, as well as providing extreme .rigidityto the upstanding fingers when articles are positioned on the tray, also provided support for the fingers to minimize warping and sagging during manufacture of the tray while the wet molded pulp tray is being dried. Finally, when articles are packaged with a cheek adjacent each upstanding finger, the depression associated with the finger may serve an additional purpose of providing pocket or recess means to prevent the article from shifting during transportation and damaging other articles.

While the above described embodiments constitute preferred modes of practicing the present invention, other embodiments may be resorted to within the scope of the actual invention which is defined by the following claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A packaging tray comprising a bottom portion, a plurality of finger portions spaced from one another around the periphery of the bottom portion in scalloplike array, the finger portions being formed integrally with the bottom portion and curving upwardly there from to provide side support for articles resting on the bottom portion, and depressions integrally molded at the base of each of the finger portions, each depression including a curved wall portion integrally merging with the tray but being essentially of dissimilar curvature.

2. A packaging tray as set forth in claim 1 wherein the bottom portion is of generally rectangular shape with a single finger extending fully around each of the two ends thereof.

3. A molded pulp packaging tray for supporting articles in conjunction with a flexible overwrap comprising a substantially rigid bottom portion, the underside of which may serve as an anchor surface for the flexible overwrap, a plurality of finger portions spaced from one another around the periphery of the bottom portion in scallop-like array, the finger portions being formed integrally with the bottom portion and curving upwardly therefrom to provide side support for articles restmg on thebottom portion, and depressions integrally molded at the base of each of the finger portions, each depressron including a curved wall portion integrally merging with the tray but being essentially of dissimilar curvature to afford increased rigidity of the finger portions.

4. A molded pulp packaging tray for supporting articles comprising a generally fiat and substantially rigid bottom portion serving as an underlying support for artlcles, a scallop-like edge around the bottom portion forming plural upwardly curving finger portions to provide s de support for articles as well as to increase the visibility of the lower portion of articles packaged in the tray, and depressions integrally molded at the base of each of the finger portions, each depression including a curved wall portion integrally merging with the tray but being essentially of dissimilar curvature to afford increased rigidity of the finger portion in relation to the bottom portion.

5. A molded pulp packaging tray as set forth in claim 4 wherein the generally flat bottom portion includes ridge means formed thereon to facilitate spacing articles on the tray.

6. A molded pulp packaging tray as set forth in claim 4 wherein the scallop-like edge includes a continuous surface substantially normal to the plane of the bottom portion.

7. A molded pulp packaging tray as set forth in claim 4 wherein the wall portion of each depression is curved in generally rounded fashion to bulge outside the general contours of the tray adjacent the bottom portion.

8. A molded pulp packaging tray as set forth in claim 7 wherein the bottom portion is of generally rectangular shape, and wherein the upstanding finger portions at the ends of the rectangular shape extend higher thereabove than the finger portions along the sides of the recular h pe.

7 wherein the bottom portion is of generally rectangular shape with an upstanding finger portion at each corner, and wherein the four corner finger portions extend higher above the bottom portions than the finger portions along the sides of the rectangular shape.

19. A molded pulp packaging tray as set forth in claim 7 wherein the bottom portion is of generally rectangular shape, and wherein the upstanding finger portions at the ends of the rectangular shape extend farther laterally of the tray than the finger portions along the sides of the rectangular shape.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS Seez 22930 Benoit 22929 Balier 206-45.33

Hotch 2292.5

Lurie 22072 Kennedy 20645.33 Bostron 22072 GEORGE O. RALSTON, Primary Examiner.

FRANKLIN T. GARRETT, Examiner.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2073498 *Feb 25, 1936Mar 9, 1937John Seez ChristianAshtray
US2154194 *May 26, 1937Apr 11, 1939Leon BenoitFiller package
US2470456 *Jan 7, 1947May 17, 1949Marathon CorpTray
US2738914 *Oct 31, 1950Mar 20, 1956Keyes Fibre CoFruit and vegetable container
US2918379 *Aug 4, 1958Dec 22, 1959Campbell Lurie Plastics IncMeat packaging and the like
US3016131 *Jan 25, 1960Jan 9, 1962Diamond National CorpFood container
US3104776 *Sep 6, 1961Sep 24, 1963 Plastic container
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3375966 *Feb 10, 1967Apr 2, 1968Keyes Fibre CoFull depth carton for large eggs
US3396895 *Mar 27, 1967Aug 13, 1968Kennesaw Plastic CompanyEgg carton and label
US3650394 *Dec 19, 1969Mar 21, 1972Cazenove DePackaging device
US3650395 *Jan 22, 1970Mar 21, 1972Hobbs Reginald JohnShrink wrap package having the containers therein in contacting relation
US3675767 *May 15, 1970Jul 11, 1972Grace W R & CoSleeve wrapped package with a base
US4333571 *May 22, 1980Jun 8, 1982Nespak S.P.A. Societa' Generale Per L'imballaggioPackaging unit for fruit or like articles
US4849606 *Dec 23, 1987Jul 18, 1989S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.Tamper-resistant container utilizing a flexible seal
US6401434Dec 2, 1999Jun 11, 2002Michelsen Packaging CompanyMethod and apparatus for loading filled fruit packing trays
US7549391 *Jan 19, 2005Jun 23, 2009The Bug Company Of MinnesotaInsect habitat and retail receptacle
US7878146Sep 26, 2008Feb 1, 2011The Bug Company Of MinnesotaCricket habitat and retail receptacle
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/521.8, 206/564, 220/675, D09/758, 229/407
International ClassificationB65D85/34, B65D1/34
Cooperative ClassificationB65D85/34, B65D1/34
European ClassificationB65D85/34, B65D1/34