US 3311229 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 23, 19$? J, TROLL ETAL, 3,311,229
TABLET PACKAGE Filed Jan. 21, 1965 E -j 41 FM. 6 F! 5 LEWVAWD A m Wm ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,311,229 TABLET PACKAGE John H. Troll, Waban, Mass, and Leonard A. Kaufman,
Brooklyn, N.Y., assignors to National Patent Development Corporation, New York, N.Y., a corporation of Delaware Filed Jan. 21, 1965, -er. No. 426,851 4 Claims. (Ql. 206-56) This invention concerns a method for counting medicinal tablets automatically and providing for such tablets a durable low-cost pack-aging means fitting any given number of tablets; such a packaging means forming a protection for the tablets against mechanical damage or chemical adulteration and allowing easy removal of a single tablet from the package without disturbing the tablets remaining in the package.
One object of the invention is to obviate the need for counting tablets manually in drug stores, nursing homes or hospitals where tablets must be counted out of a large container and a prescribed number of these must be place in a smaller container.
Narcotics tablets in hospitals and nursery home dispensary for example could be stored in lar e packages containing 25, 50 or 100 tablets, so that only the packages but not the individual tablets would need to be counted during the legally required counts. Partially used packages could be easily recognized by visual inspection and the empty spaces deducted from the total.
A further object of the invention is to obviate the repeated counting of certain tablets, notably those wit narcotic content, which by law must be performed in hospitals and nursing homes by qualified professional personnel at each change of shift.
A further object of the invention is to obviate the need of handling the tablets in these repeated counting processes, eliminating a potential h genie hazard as well as a source of wastage.
A further object of the invention is to provide an inexpensive, disposable. means for packaging medicinal tablets, such means being readily adjustable to accommodate a desired number of tablets and protecting them from physical damage or chemical deterioration, such means permitting the removal of a single tablet from the package without disturbing the remainder of the tablets.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art after reading the following specification in connection with the annexed drawings, in which: FIG. 1 is a plan view of a portion of a preferred form of receptacle sheet for a package constructed in accordance with this invention; FIG. 2 is a plan view of a similar portion of a cover sheet to be applied to the sheet shown in FIG. 1; FIG. 3 is a cross-section on an enlarged scale taken on the line 3-3 of FIG. 1; FIG. 4 is a cross-section on an enlarged scale taken on the line 4-4 of FIG. 2; FIG. 5 is a cross-section similar to that of FIG. 4 but showing an alternative form of cover sheet; FIG. 6 is a crosssection taken along the same line as that of FIG. 3 but showing an alternative form of ca ity, or depression, for the tablets; FIG. 7 is a cross-section similar to that of FIG. 3 but showing the cover of FIG. 4 attached to the receptacle sheet; FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view showing the alternative form of cover attached to a receptacle sheet; FIG. 9 is an end view of a length of cover sheet in the form of a roll for storage or sale, and FIG. 10 is an end view of a roll of receptacle sheet.
In the drawings the numeral indicates a receptacle sheet while numeral 16 indicates generally a cover sheet for use with the receptacle as will hereinafter be described. These sheets are fabricated from flexible thin 3,3 l L225? Patented Mar. 28, 1967 sheets of any suitable commercially available plastic material capable of being molded with suitable depressions, or protuberances, which will be described. While the sheet material may be clear, translucent or opaque and have any desired color it would be preferable that at least one of the sheets be clear so that the contents can be observed.
The receptacle sheet has formed therein a plurality of depressions, indicated generally by numeral 37, arranged in rows spaced from each other transversely with respect to the side margins 18 and 19 of. the sheet and also in alignment along the length of the sheet. In addition, the sheet is perforated between each row of depression along the transverse lines indicated by nu- .erals 2t and 21. Instead of perforations, a line of weakening may be formed in the sheet. it will be understood that only two rows of depressions are shown in the drawing but since the sheet may be of any length the number of rows, with perforations, or lines of weakening, between them, will be determined by the length of the receptacle sheet itself. Furthermore, depending on the number of depressions in each row, one or more longitudinally running lines of perforation, or lines of weakening, indicated by numeral 22, may be also provided between the depressions for a purpose which will be explained later. la the example shown each row comprises 5 depressions, and a single longitudinal line of perforations has een provided which divides each row into two groups of depressions, one containing two and the other containing three depressions.
The receptacle sheet is also formed with a number of upwardly directed, more or less bulbous, protuberances indicated generally by numeral 23. One row of these protuberances are arranged adjacent the margin 18 extending in regularly spaced relationship along the entire length of the sheet and another similar row of protuberances are arranged adjacent the other margin 19. In addition, other rows of these protuberances extend longitudinally in similar regularly spaced relationship on either side of the longitudinally extendiru perforation 22 and, if any other longitudinally extending lines of perforation were employed, similar rows of protuberances would be arranged along the length of the strip on each side of any such additional perforation line. As will be seen in FIG. 3, each of the protuberances 23 is formed with an enlarged head portion 24 which tapers downwardly and inwardly to join with the sheet 15 itself in a neck portion 25 of slightly less diameter than that of the head portion.
A preferred form of cover sheet 16 may comprise a flat sheet of material of any length but having side margins 26 and 27 coresponding to the margins 18 and 19 of the receptacle sheet. The cover sheet is also provided with longitudinally extending rows of circular openings 28 disposed adjacent each of its margins 26 and 27 and arranged so that each such opening will be in exact registry with a protuberance 23 on the receptacle sheet when the cover sheet is superposed above it. The cover sheet will also be provided with transverse lines of perforation, or may have lines of weakening formed therein arranged to register with the lines of weakening 20 and 21 and any other recurring transverse perforations or lines of weakening along the length of the receptacle sheet. Also, if the receptacle sheet is provided with a longitudinally extending line of perforation, such as indicated at 21, the cover sheet will also be provided with a longitudinally extending line of perforations 31 arranged to register with the perforations on the receptacle sheet and will further be provided with additional holes 28 to register with each of the two protuberances 23 on each side of the line of perforation 22.
The purpose of the protuberances and registering openmgs is to provide a means of attaching the two sheets together and to accomplish this the diameter of the opening 28 should be slightly less than the enlarged head portion 24 of the protuberances so that when the two sheets are pressed together each of the openings 28 may be snapped over a protuberance in the receptacle sheet for holding engagement with the neck portion, as shown in FIG. 7. The cover sheet is also provided with a number of circular lines of perforation 32, or circular lines of weakening, these perforations being arranged in rows extending along the entire length of the cover sheet to coincide with each of the depressions 17 in the receptacle sheet.
In the form of receptacle sheet shown in FIG. 3 each of the depressions 17 resembles a truncated cone having conical sidewalls 33 and a flat bottom 34. This type of depression enables it to accommodate tablets 35 of varying diameters. In the modified form of receptacle sheet shown in FIG. 6 each of the depressions is formed with cylindrical sidewalls 36 having a fiat bottom 37 and this type of depression is preferable if the packaging device is to be used with tablets of a known size such as tablet 38. Of course, other shapes of depressions may be employed, particularly if the tablets are of irregular outline and in case it may be desired to have the depression closely correspond thereto.
While it has been stated that the cover sheet may be provided with a series of openings 28 for engagement with the protuberanccs and their receptacle sheet, it may be desired to use the modified form of fastening device shown in FIG. 8 especially in view of the ease with which vacuum forming of plastic sheets may be accomplished. In this modification the cover sheet is provided with protuberances, indicated generally by numeral 39 each arranged to register with protuberances 23 on the receptacle sheet. These protuberances will also be formed with an enlarged head portion 40 having inwardly tapered sides and joined with the cover sheet by a neck portion 41 of reduced diameter. In this instance the inside diameter of the neck portion 41 will be slightly less than the exterior diameter of the head 24 whereby, when the two sheets are pressed together the protuberances 33 will engage with the protuberan-ces 23 with a snap fastener action.
By grouping the depressions in the receptacle sheets in transverse rows of five and separating each row by a line of weakening, a simple method of counting and dispensing is provided. Individual tablets need not be counted, only the number of rows, which can easily be multiplied by five.
To dispense the tablets it is only necessary to count the required number of rows and break oh the assembled receptacle and cover sheets at the proper line of weakening, or perforation, to quickly obtain the desired number of tablets. Also, this can be done without any physical handling of the tablets themselves.
By grouping the transverse rows of indentations into sections of two and three separated by a longitudinal line of weakening, the further advantage is obtained, that it is possible to count, and dipense, tablets quickly and easily in multiple of these two numbers, as well as by five. It will also be obvious that the width of the sheets can be increased, or decreased, to accommodate other desired subdivision of the rows by longitudinal lines of weakening may be employed.
While this packaging system could be used by a manufacturer, it is primarily intended to be used by pharmacists who dispense drugs at the retail ievel. For this purpose, the two sheets can be sold separately in the form of rolls, as shown in FEGSJ9 and 10.
To fill an order, the pharmacist would break off a length of receptacle sheet 15 having the proper number of indentations corresponding to the number of tablets ordered. He would then remove a similar portion of the cover sheet. Next the indentation in the box sheet are filled with tablets by pouring tablets onto the box sheet until all the indentations are filled. The indentations are sized in such a manner that only one tablet of a size or a given sizerange can be accommodated in each. The excess number of pills then are returned to the bottle.
The cover sheet is then affixed to the box sheets by pressing it on firmly. The label after the directions have been typed on it in the usual manner is then afiixed in the space provided.
Having disclosed several forms in which the invention may be practiced, it will be evident that changes and improvements may be made by those skilled in the art which would come within the scope of the annexed claims.
1. A package for tablets or the like, comprising two sheets of material having uniform width, at least one of said sheets having a plurality of regularly spaced rows of depressions formed therein for receiving tablets, at least one of said sheets being provided with a plurality of spaced protuberances formed therein, the other of said sheets being provided with means for snap engagement with each of said protuberances for releasably secur ing said sheets in face to face relationship, both of said sheets being provided with coincidental spaced transverse lines of weakening disposed between rows of said tablet receiving depressions and defining discrete areas of the sheets, at least two of said protuberances being located in each said area to permit separation of predetermined lengths of said sheets while maintaining said face to face engagement.
2. The invention as defined in claim 1, wherein each said sheet is also provided with a coincidental line of weakening extending in a lengthwise direction.
3. The invention as defined in claim 2, wherein the tablet receiving depressions are arranged in alignment in a lengthwise direction, said lengthwise lines of weakening being arranged to define with said transverse lines of weakening discrete areas containing uniform numbers of said depressions.
4. The invention as defined in claim 3, wherein each said area contains at least two of said protuberances.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,302,045 11/1942 Neumann et al. 206-56 2,803,365 8/1957 Eljanian et al. 220-60 3,111,220 11/1963 Bostrom 206-42 3,148,103 9/1964 Gallagher 22060 FOREIGN PATENTS 840,714 7/1960 Great Britain.
THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner. more, or less, indentations in each row, and that any 69 LOUIS G. MANCENE, Examiner. W. T. DIXSON, Assistant Examiner.