US 3254828 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
June 7, 1966 H. LERNER 3,254,828
FLEXIBLE CONTAINER STRIPS Filed Dec. 18, 1963 5 Sheets-Shea?l l 4l will ily n. 'w Il' V4/V' Il 2 I, l I n) "/pl 43 44 293 3/ (2/ 7G /42 5/ 27 5/ 32 Fla 2 27 32 i W. El I El g1 6 El 'I El; Z Eh,
INVENTOR. HERSHEY LER/VER 32F16. 6 M2M June 7, 1966 H. LERNER FLEXIBLE CONTAINER STRIPS 5 Sheets-Sheet P,
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FLEXIBLE CONTAINER STRIPS Filed Dec. 18, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 lam/Mm,
T'TOENEV5 United States Patent O 3,254,828 FLEXIBLE CONTAINER STRIPS Hershey Lerner, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, assigner to Automated Packaging Corporation Filed Dec. 18, 1963, Ser. No. 331,492 8 Claims. (Cl. 229-53) rllhis application is a continuation-impart of application Serial No. 64,157 for Container Strip, IMethod of Packaging Articles, and Container Delivery Device, liledV October 21, 1960, now abandoned.
This invention relates generally to article packaging-and more specilically to improvements in flexible container strips of a type including a plurality of connected containers which are adapted to Ibe handled and tilled in an improved manner.
With the advent of flexible packaging, it has been proposed to provide containers which are initially connected in strip form. In general, the usual container strip is in the -form of a continuous tube made of la suitable heat sealable plastic material. 'l'lhe conventional tube has spaced transverse sealing areas which define individual containers that may be severed from the tube as they are desired ifor packaging. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, ex-ible container strips facilitate handling, shipping land storage `of the containers.'
An important disadvantage of conventional container strips, however, is that lthey cannot be expeditiously iilled and sealed. More particularly, conventional container strips do not lend themselves to economical high-speed operations in Which each container can be automatically opened for lilling While still connected to the strip.
lt is the usual practice to sever each individual container from the strip as it is desired for use and to feed the individual containers to the operator. This practice is necessitated by the conventional strip construction. Among other disadvantages, this prior method isunsatisfactory for modern thigh-speed operations that are required .at the presen-t time. When conventional containers, container feed-ing devices, and container packaging techniques are used, considera-ble time is usually required in order to open each container so that the 4articles can be inserted therein. In addition, since the containers are separate, careless lhandling of -a package of containers Will cause them to fall out of alignment. When this occurs, the containers cannot be dispensed at all by automatic means until they are realignedand the cost of straightening the inisal-gned containers is greater than the cost of the containers themselves. This condition also occ-urs when less than an entire carton of containers is used at one time and the remainder is to be used later.
ln another known container strip, the containers are formed in pairs. pair are connected together, ywhile the closed ends of the containers of each pair are connected to the closed ends of containers in ladjacent pairs. In use of such a container strip, a pair of bags is severed therefrom yand the tvvo bags are filled while connected to each other. While some improvements in handling are provided by this conventional container strip, each pair of bags still Imust be individually manipulated inthe iilling operations. 'llhe containers cannot be'automatically opened and they cannot be filled While still-connected in strip -for-m.
The instant invention avoids the ydiliiculties associated with the prior art containers, and more particularly with the prior fart container strips. In :accordance with the present invention, the containers to be iilled with various articles are initially disposed in the form of a strip with each container of the strip being 'attached to the adjacent container and oriented in the same direction so that the containers can be sequentially iilled by advancing the strip The mouths of the containers of each 3,254,828 Patented `.lune '7, 1966 together along the sides of the strip. The plies are trans-.
versely sealed together at spaced intervals along the length of the strip so as to dene containers having closed end portions and opposite end portions. These containers are `oriented in the same direction 'with the opposite end portion of each container being connected by at least one of the plies to the closed end port-ion of :an adjacent container. The connecting ply is preferably provided rwith a tearable portion so that the containers can be selectively severed from the strip after insertion of the packaged articles. The other of the plies is formed with transverse openings spaced along the length of the strip so as to provide access into each container, the slit opening into eac'h container be-ing located adjacent its opposite end portion.
When the improved container strip having the construction generally described above is utilized in order to packalge articles, the first container of the strip may 'be placed in registration With an opening mechanism which operates to open a container through its slit opening. The article to be packaged is then disposed within the opened container, the opening mechanism rendered inoperative, and the strip advanced endwise to bringthe next adjacent container into 'registration with the opening mechanism. Each lilled container may be severed strom the strip if desired.
It is also possible to place articles within each container of the container strip of this invention and leave each lil-led container in interconnected |relationship with the adjacent container. Such a structure can be advantageously used in a vending machine, for example, or in other dispensing devices, thereby assuring proper `feeding of the articles to be dispensed.
It is also possible to dispose articles within each container `ot the container strip of this invention vvhile maintaining the containers in interconnected relationship and Without sealing the slit openings therein. It the adjacent container (assuming a ilexible strip is used) is then disposed over the opening of the preceding container, the dirt is kept out of each container of the strip Without |the necessity of la sealing operation. Such a structure can be used Where clothing articles, 'for example, are to be sold, and permits dirt to be kept from the articles. AtA
the same time, the struct-ure permits the articles contained in each container to be removed temporarily and examined by the customer prior to purchase.
A further advantage of the container strip of the present invention resides in the tact that separate containers cannot be inadvertently dropped and thus become locally contaminated.
In one specific embodiment of the invention, the tearable portion between the closed end portion of one container and the opposite end portion of the adjacent container is coincident with 'the slit opening'in the adjacent container. Preferably, the tearable portions are formed by perforations extending across the ply'vvhioh connects the containers, 'wlhile the slit openings are formed enti-rely across the other ply and overlie lthe tearable portions. With this construction, each tearable portion and coincident slit opening can be advantageously terme-d at the same time.
In accordance with other embodiments of the invention, the slit opening into each container is spaced from the tearable portion by which the container can be removed from the strip.
An object of the invention is to provide an improved container strip comprising a plurality of connected containers, each of said containers having a closed end portion and a slit opening in its opposite end portion.
Another object of the invention is to provide an im-` proved container strip comprising a plurality of connected containers adapted to be opened easily and sequentially lled by advancing the strip endwise.
A more specific object of the invention is to provide a container strip as described above wherein each con tainer includes a closed end portion and a slit opening in its opposite end portion, the strip being further characterized by the orientation of the containers in the same direction so that the closed end of one container is con'- nected to the opposite end of the adjacent container.
A further object of the invention is to provide an improved container strip characterized by a plurality of connected containers oriented in the same direction, a tearable portion, between adjacent containers, and a slit opening into each container which is coincident with a tearable portion.
Yet another object of the invention is to provide an improved container strip characterized by a plurality of connected containers oriented in the same direction, a tearable portion between adjacent containers, and a slit opening into each container which is spaced from the tearable portion by which the container can be severed from the strip.
Still another object of the invention is to provide an improved container strip characterized by transversely sealed areas arranged in regularly spaced pairs along the length of the strip and 4by tearable portions formed along the strip so that each container therein has a closed end portion dened by a pair of transverse sealing areas.
Another object of the invention is to provide an improved container strip comprised of connected containers oriented in the same direction, each of the containers having a closed end, an opposite sealed end, and a slit opening closely spaced from the sealed end.
The word adjacent as used in the specification and claims in relation to the tearable, perforated, and/or scored portions of the improved container strip of the invention and defined in connection with the spaced, sealed portions of such container strip is intended to cover not only the situation where the perforated portions are in conjunction with the spaced sealed portions of said strip, but also applies to the situation where such perforated, tearable and scored portions are within a spaced sealed portion of the strip. The Word tearable is intended to define weakened portions formed in the strip for severing the containers and includes perforations, score lines, and the like.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a plan view of one form of the container strip made in accordance with this invention;
FIGURE 2 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken Qn the line 2 2 of FIG. l;
FIGURE 3 is a diagrammatical side elevational view, partially in cross-section, illustrating one manner of opening the containers of the improved strip for sequential filling;
FIGURE 4 is a vertical cross-sectional view of an operative container delivery device which may be used in conjunction with the improved container strip of this invention;
FIGURE 5 is a plan view of still another form of the invention;
FIGURE 6 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken on the line 6 6 of FIG. 5;
FIGURE 7 is a plan view of still another form of the present invention;
FIGURE 8 is an enlarged cross-sectional View of the form of the container strip shown in FIG. 7 and is taken along the line 8 8 of FIG. 7;
FIGURE 9 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 9 9 of FIG. 7;
FIGURE 10 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 10-10 of FIG. 7;
FIG. 11 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line Il ll of FIG. 7;
FIGURE 12 is a plan view of still another form of the container strip made in accordance with this invention;
FIGURE 13 is an enlarged cross-sectional View taken along the line 13 13 of FIG. 12;
FIGURE 14 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along the line It-14 of FIG. 12;
FIGURE 15 is a plan view of still another form of the present invention; l
FIGURE 16 is a cross-sectional view taken along the lines ir-I6 of FIG. 15;
FIGURE 17 is a plan view of a single container made from the Container strip shown in FIG. 15;
FIGURE 18 is a cross-sectional view similar to that of FIG. l() but showing an alternate manner in which a portion of the container strip may be folded;
FIGURE 19 is a plan view of still another form of the container strip made in Iaccordance with this invention;
FIGURE 20 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 2% 20 of FIG. 19;
FIGURE 21 is a pian view of still another form of the container strip made in accordance with this invention; and
FIGURE 22 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 22-22 of FIG. 21.
Referring now to the drawings, the improved container strip is generally designated by reference numeral 25. The strip 25 is formed by a rst ply 26 and a second ply 27. The plies 26, 27 are joined together along the side portions 2S, 29 of the strip. A channel portion 30 intervenes the first ply 26 and the second ply 27.
The strip 25 may be formed of any suitable material which can be made into a container, but is preferably formed of Ia iiexible packaging material such as polyethylene, cellophane, vinyl films, pliolms, cellulose acetate film, polystyrene, polypropylene, and the like. Best results are obtained by theuse of heat scalable thermoplastic materials such as polyethylene and the like. Various expedients for forming the generally tubular strip 25 will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, the strip 25 may be extruded in seamless form or the strip may be formed by sealing or bonding together the side edges of an elongated fiat sheet.
The container strip 2S is provided with a plurality of transverse tearable portions 31 which are spaced along the length of the strip. In the embodiments of FIGS. 1, 5, 7, 12 and 15, the tearable portions 31 are formed by perforating the plies 26, 27. In the embodiments of FIGS. 19 and 21, the tearable portions 31 are formed by score lines 23. Where the tearable portions 31 are perforations, they are composed of a series of alignedopenings 32.
The plies 26, 27 are transversely sealed together in zones spaced along the length of the strip 25 to provide a plurality of spaced sealed portions 40. 'Ihe sealed portions 40 and the tearable portions 31, in the preferred modica-tions of this invention, extend across the container strip 25 and are preferably at right angles to the side portions 28, 29.
In the illustrated embodiments of the invention, each tearable portion 31 is adjacent one of the sealed portions 40 so -that the tearable portions and sealed portions cooperate to divide the container strip into containers.
Each such container has a closed end which is defined by a sealed portion 40 and an opposite end which is defined by the location of a tearable portion 31. The containers are oriented in the same direction with the opposite end portion of each container being connected by at least the ply 27 to the closed end portion of an adjacent container. In addition, the ply 26 is provided with a plurality of transverse slit openings which are spaced along the length of the strip so as to provide access into the opposite end portion of each container.
Referring particularly to the embodiment of FIGS. l and 2, it will be seen that the sealed zones are regularly spaced along the length of the strip 25 and that a tearable portion 31 is adjacent each sealed portion. The containers defined by each pair of 'adjacent tearable portions 31 are generally designated by reference numeral 41. The closed end portion of each container 41 is designated by reference numeral 42 and the opposite end portion by reference numeral 43. In the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, the slit openings 44 which provide access into the end portion 43 of each container are coincident with the tearable portions 31. That is to say, the tearable portions 31 and the slits 44 are formed in the same location along the length of the strip so that the slits 44 in the ply 26 directly overlie the perforations 32 in the ply 27. The slits 44 preferably extend completely across the width of the ply 26 so that the closed end portion 42 of one container is connected to the opposite end portion 43 of an adjacent container by the perforated ply 27.
In the embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6, the sealed portions 40 are formed in regularly spaced pairs along the length of the strip 25. The tearable portions 31 also are regularly spaced along the length of the strip 25 and each tearable portion is closely spaced from a corresponding sealed portion 40 of each pair. A hole 49 is preferably formed between the sealed portions 40 of each pair. Thus arranged, the tearable portions 31 and the spaced sealed zones 40 cooperate to define containers 50 having closed end portions 51 and opposite end portions 52. The closed end portions 51 of each container include a pair of the spaced sealed z-ones 40. As in the case of the embodiment of FIGS. l and 2, the transverse, spaced slit openings 44, which are formed through the ply 26 along the length of the-strip so as to provide access into the opposite end portion 52 of each container, are coincident with the perforated tearable portions 31.
The containers are commonly referred to `as header bags. When packages are formed using the header bags 50, the packages can be conveniently displayed by hooks or the like which extend through the holes 49.
The embodiment of FIGS. 7-11 differs from the con structions previously 4discussed in that the tearable portions and slit openings are separately formed. In this embodiment, the sealed portions 40 are regularly spaced along the length of the strip 25. The tearable portions 31 are formed by perforating the plies 26, 27 in zones closely spaced from each sealed portion 40. The containers 55 defined by each pair of tearable portions 31 are provided with transverse slit openings 56. AThe slit openings 56 are shown closely spaced from the tearable portions and are formed in the end portions 57 of the containers opposite their closed end portions 58.
The embodiment of FIGS. 12-14 is generally similar to that of FIGS. 7-1l except that the tearable portions 31 are formed within the regularly spaced sealed portions 40. Thus formed, each container 60 defined by adjacent tearable portions has a closed end 61 and an opposite, sealed end portion 62. The slit openings 56 are again closely spaced from each sealed portion 40 and provides access into the sealed, opposite end portions 62 of the containers 60.
FIGURES l5, 16 and 17 show a container strip which may be utilized t-o form a container 69 having an overlying portion 70 protecting the transverse slit opening 56 but permitting la purchaser to place his hand under the overlying portion 70 and through the opening 56 so as to feel the merchandise. In the container strip of FIG. 15, the sealed portions 40 are formed in regularly spaced pairs along the length of the strip 25. Two succeeding pairs of sealed portions constitute a series of four members 71-74. The first and second members 71, 72 of each such series, and the third and fourth members 73, 74 thereof are relatively close together, while the second and third members 72, 73 are relatively far apart. The tearable portions 31 are disposed between the first and second and third and fourth members of each of the series, while the transverse openings 56 are disposed on opposite sides of the spaced sealed portions than that occupied by the corresponding tearable portions. The distance 70l between a tearable portion 31 and the second member '72 of each of the series of sealed portions 40 and also the distance 70 between tearable portions 31 and the fourth member 74 of each of the series of sealed portions 40 is sufficiently great as to permit the portions 70 to overlie the opening 56 when the portion 70 is reversed as shown at 69a in FIG. 17.
FIGURE 18 shows a construction which may be used to produce an extremely strong bottom portion of a container. In this figure the closed end portion which is to form the bottom of the container is doubled in a reverse direction and then doubled again in a forward direction withthe overlying portions sealed to one another. This produces an extra strong container.
FIGURES 19 and 20 illustrate another modification of the invention which is similar to the embodiment of FIGS. l2-14. According to this construction, the tearable portions 31 are formed by score lines 33 which extend transversely of the container strip 25 within each sealed portion 40. In addition, the transverse slit openings 56 are shown as being relatively short so as to provide small openings into the containers.
The strip construction shown in FIGS. 21 and 22 is similar to the construction of FIGS. 7-1l except that the tearable portions 31 are again formed by score lines 33. The score lines 33 extend transversely of the container strip between each sealed portion 4f) and adjacent slit opening 56'.
As described above, each embodiment of the invention is characterized by the orientation of the containers in the same direction. Each container has a closed end portion defined by one of the spaced sealed portions and an opposite end portion `defined by one of the tearable portions. A transverse slit opening is provided into each container in its opposite end portion which is connected to the closed end portion of an adjacent container. One important advantage of this improved container strip construction is the ease with which the strip can -be handled and the connected containers opened and filled.
The improved manner of use which is facilitated by the new container strip construction of this invention is schematically illustrated in FIG. 3. As here shown, the container strip 25 can be intermittently moved in the direction of the arrow to a container opening position defined by the location of a blower S6. When the blower is turned on, the air issuing therefrom impinges on the container strip ,and enters the slit opening of the container positioned at the opening station so as to infiate the container. Thus infiated, the article to be packaged, such as a sponge 87, can be easily inserted through the opening into the container whereupon the strip lis advanced to bring the next -container into position. After each 'article has been inserted into a container, the slit opening of the filled container can be sealed if desired. The filled containers either can be severed from the strip along the tearable portions or the strip can be left intact for shipment and subsequent use.
FIGURE 4 shows an operative container delivery device which can be used with the improved container strip of this invention. In accordance withthe construction E shown in FIG. 4, a housing 90 is provided which defines a hollow chamber 91. An axle 92 Iis suitably supported within the housing chamber 91 and a rolled container strip 25 is mounted on the axle 92. An outlet opening 93 is provided in 1the housing 90 through which the container strip 25 is adapted to pass and a container support portion 94 is disposed on the housing and projects therefrom. An air-blowing Imechanism, which may be a conventional electrically operated blower 95, is operatively connected to the housing chamber 91 and blows air outwardly 4through the opening 93. A container-seperating projection 96 is disposed on the container support portion 94 and is spaced from the outlet opening 93. The housing 90 .and the container support portion 94 can be made of corrugated cardboard and the support port-ion 94 hinged to the housing and turned so as to overlie the housing when the device is shipped to the customer for use.
In use, the container strip 25 is further unrolled to present the next container to the support portion 94, the previously loaded container can be severed from the strip Ialong the tearable portion. It will be seen that movement of the container strip 25 will produce alignment of the next container of the container strip with the air blower 9S so that the operation can then be repeated.
If it is desired to leave the containers of the container strip 25 in interconnected aligned relationship, the container separating projection 96 can be eliminated from the device and the container after being filled with the article merely moved along the support portion 94 out of registration with the air blower mechanism 95.
lt will thus be apparent that the invention provides improved container constructions which can be easily handled, opened, and filled. More specifically7 the improved container strip of the invention lends itself to an operation in which the container strip is advanced endwise and each container thereof is sequentially opened and filled with the article to be packaged. Further, each container comprising the strips can be filled without disconnecting the container from-the strip.
Many additional modifications and variations of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing detailed disclosure. Therefore, it is to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention can be .practiced otherwise than as specifically shown and described.
What is claimed is:
1. A flexible container strip comprising:
(a) an elongated flexible tube of plastic material capable of bonding to itself at a predetermined temperature on application of pressure but being otherwise non-adherent to material of identical composition;
(b) said tube being longitudinally collapsed to provide first and second symmetrical plies joined together along the longitudinal side edges thereof;
(c) said tube having a plurality of transversely disposed seals each securing said first and second plies together and delineating an end of fillable space of a bag, each such seal extending transversely from one s-ide wall of the tube to another in a sealed zone such that the tube is separated into a chain of connected bags;
(d) one ply of each bag having a transverse end opening extending substantially from one side wall of the bag to the other, each such opening being adjacent the end of the bag remote from the sealed zone forming the filling space end of that bag such that the bags of the chain are all oriented in the same direction;
(e) said openings all being formed in said first ply and .being uniformly spaced at longitudinally disposed intervals;
(f) said zones being uniformly space-d from one another at longitudinally disposed intervals substantially equal the opening intervals;
(g) said second ply being transversely weakened in tearable portions at spaced intervals substantially equal the end seal and opening intervals, each such weakening extending substantially from one side edge to another to permit facile separation of the bags lmanually or the like while maintaining the integrity of the second ply and the tube;
(h) said tearable por-tions each being located near said bag opening of the sa-me bag; and,
(i) whereby to provide a chain of collapsed bags which may be fed serially along a path from a coil to bag opening and load stations and may be opened by `a blast of air directed longitudinally of the path and then loaded and separated from the chain sequentially and one at a time.
2. The strip as claimed in claim 1 wherein said openings and tearable portions are coincident.
3. The strip .as claimed in claim 1 wherein said tearable portions are formed by perforations.
4. The strip as claimed in claim 1 wherein said open'- ings are closely spaced from said tearable portions, and wherein said plies are transversely sealed between each tearable portion and the closely spaced opening.
5. The device of claim lwherein a plurality of header establishing transverse sealed zones are provided at lon gitud-inal intervals uniformly spaced distances equal to any one of the mentioned intervals of claim 1, and wherein said header zones are each between a space end delineating zone of one bag and the opening of a bag contiguous to the one bag with said header Zone being spaced from the end zones and adjacent the opening of its bag.
6. The strip as claimed in claim 5 wherein said strip includes a hole between the sealed zones of each pair, and wherein said tearable portions and openings are coincident.
7. The strip as claimed in claim 1 wherein said tearable portions are formed between each opening and the nearest end zone.
8. The strip as claimed in claim 7 wherein said tearable portions are formed by perforations.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,980,241 11/1934 Wilson et al. 229-69 2,401,109 5/19-46 Rohdin 229-48 2,628,013 2/1953 Vogt 229-69 2,998,340 8/ 1961 Conway et al. 3,015,918 1/1962 Schoen 229-48 3,027,065 3*/ 1962 Lindqui-st et al 229-69 X 3,060,653 10/1962 Flax 229-48 FOREIGN PATENTS 549,840 12/ 1957 Canada.
LOUIS G. MANCENE, Primary Examiner.
FRANKLIN T. GARRETT, THERON E. CONDON,