US 3342326 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 19, 1967 E. A. ZACKHEIM STERILE FLEXIBLE PACKAGE 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Oct. 22, 1965 INVENTOR 54/ Z/C/OVE/M p 19, 1967 E. A. ZACKHEIM I 3,342,326
STERILE FLEXIBLE PACKAGE Filed Oct. 22, 1965 2 Sh2ets-$heet 2 ATTORNE United States Patent 3,342,326 STERILE FLEXIBLE PACKAGE Eli A. Zackheim, Princeton, N.J., assignor to Johnson & Johnson, a corporation of New Jersey Filed Oct. 22, 1965, Ser. No. 502,123 3 Claims. (Cl. 296-56) This invention relates to containers, and more particularly, is directed to flexible containers for sterile materials.
The present invention, generally, provides a container for sterile materials such as ointments, jellies, powders, and the like, conventionally used as medications for topical application.
Briefly, the sealed container comprises a pair of superimposed sheets of flexible material defining front and rear walls of the container. The walls are sealed together at the bottom and top ends and along their coextensive side edges existent between said sealed bottom and top ends. The seal at the top of the container is spaced inwardly from the top end of the superimposed sheets and comprises an angular seal line having an apex directed towards the top end of the superimposed sheets and a pair oftransverse seal lines directed inwardly from the sides of the container which connect the top ends of the side edge seals with the ends of the angular seal line. Each of the transverse seal lines extends inwardly from the ends of the angular seal line and has its inner end spaced from one another below the apex of the angular seal line. The inwardly directed transverse seal lines divide the container into a lower primary chamber and .an upper secondary chamber each containing the sterile -material packaged within the container. The chambers of the angular seal line at the top of the container form tabs which upon separation are operable to open the upper secondary chamber down to the inwardly directed ,transverse seal lines. Subsequent to opening of the upper .secondary chamber, a squeezing force exerted upon the lower primary chamber permits ejection of the sterile contents within the lower primary chamber through the space existing between the inner ends of the inwardly directed transverse seal lines.
Since the interior of the upper secondary chamber also contains the sterile material, ejection of the sterile material within the lower primary chamber occurs without possibility of contamination by contacting an unsterile surface of the container.
Other attendant features and advantages of the invention will be even more readily apparent by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the acompanynig drawings wherein like reference numerals refer to like parts.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment I of the container of the present invention.
.container taken approximately along line 33 of FIG- URE 1.
FIGURE 4 is an upright perspective view of the container of FIGURE 1 illustrating the container when completely opened.
FIGURE 5 is a transverse cross-sectional view of the container taken approximately along line 5-5 of FIG- URE 1.
FIGURE 6 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the container of the present invention.
FIGURE 7 is a top plan view showing the embodiment of the container of FIGURE 6 when partially opened.
FIGURE 8 is a partial longitudinal cross-sectional view taken approximately along line 88 of FIGURE 6.
FIGURE 9 is an upright perspective view of the container illustrated in FIGURE 6 as it appears when fully opened.
FIGURE 10 is a partial top plan view of yet another embodiment of the container of the present invention, and
FIGURE 11 is a perspective view of the container illustrated in FIGURE 10 showing the manner in which the container is opened.
Referring first to the container of the present invention illustrated in FIGURES 1-5, there is shown a dual chambered, flexible container generally designated by the numeral 10. The container 10 is formed from a pair of superimposed sheets of flexible material 12 and 14 which ultimately form the front and rear walls of the container 10 respectively. The flexible sheets 12 and 14 are made of a heat-fusible material or are made of a laminate having a heat-fusible material on the interior surfaces thereof such that the sheets can be selectively sealed together upon the application of heat or of heat and pressure.
Particularly suitable for the container of the present invention when used for medicated ointments, jellies, powders, and the like, are flexible sheets of a laminate of metal foil and a thermoplastic material. Aluminum foil and vinyl chloride or vinylidene chloride polymeric materials produce an excellent container and are found to be compatible with medications generally contained in such flexible containers. In addition, such materials are compatible with sterilizing agents, such as propylene oxide, which are conveniently used to sterilize medicinal containers and packages.
I have found also, that other thermoplastic materials, such as the polyolefins are suitable for the containers of the present invention. The particular thermoplastic material selected can be varied widely depending upon the sealing characteristics desired, i.e., peelability, tearing, etc.
Returning now to FIGURES 1-5, the container of the present invention is formed by sealing together with conventional sheet sealing techniques, i.e., heated platens, rolls, etc., the superimposed sheets 12 and 14 along a portion of their lengths at their coextensive longitudinal side edges 16 and 18 subsequent to placing along selected spaced portions of the bottom sheet 14 the materials to be packaged. The superimposed sheets 12 and 14 are also sealed together by a transverse line at one end thereof, hereinafter referred to as the bottom end of the container 20. A seal at the top end of the container is formed inwardly from the top end of the superimposed sheets 12 and 14 and consists of a continuous angular line 22 having an apex 24 directed toward the top ends of the superimposed sheets 12 and 14. The ends 26 and 28 of the angular seal line are connected with the longitudinal side edge seals 16 and 18 by a pair of inwardly directed transverse seal lines 30 and 32. The transverse seal lines 30* and 32 terminate opposite each other below the apex 24 of the angular seal line 22. In this manner it is seen that the transverse seal lines 30 and 32 divide the container into two chambers, the larger, lower chamber a forming the primary chamber for containing the sterile materials packaged within the container and the upper chamber b forming a secondary chamber which also contains the sterile material but which is provided to maintain a sterile field for ejection of the sterile material from the container subsequent to its being opened. The secondary chamber b and the primary chamber a communicate with one another through a passage 34 defined between the space-d terminal inner ends of the transverse seal lines 30 and 3-2.
Beyond the outer edges of the angular seal line 22, the superimposed sheets 12 and 14 are unsealed and form finger-gripping tabs 36 and 37 respectively. To provide for easy gripping and separation of the tabs 36 and 37, the front tab 36 extends slightly beyond the rear tab 37.
To open the container, the tabs 36 and 37 are peeled open by a separating force exerted by the fingers and as they are peeled back, the angular seal line 22 is forced to separate until a resistance to separation is met caused by the transverse seal lines 30 and 32. Once opened to this position, the contents contained within the primary chamber a can be expelled therefrom through the communicating passage 34 by exertion of a squeezing force upon the chamber (1. Because the finger-gripping portions 36 and 37 upon being peeled back to reveal the inner connecting chamber 34 present a relatively large sterile surface defined by the inner surfaces of the superimposed sheets forming the chamber b, the sterile material contained within chamber a upon being ejected therefrom will not contact any unsterile surface of the container.
Referring now to the embodiment shown in FIGURES 6-9 an additional feature is provided further assuring sterile application of the sterile material contained within the chamber a of the container 10.
Within the passageway 34 of the container embodiment described above, there is positioned a utbe 40 of thermoplastic material which extends from the chamber a up into the chamber b. The transverse seal lines 30 and 32 extend inwardly to the base of the thermoplastic tube 40 and are sealed thereto to provide an hermetic seal between the top of the chamber a and the bottom circumference of the tube 40. To assure positive sealing between the tube 40 and the container walls 12 and 14, it is preferred that the thermoplastic material selected for the tube 40 be the same as the thermoplastic material used in forming the front and rear walls 12 and 1-4.
The embodiment of the container shown in FIGURES 6-9 is opened in the same manner as the embodiment of the container shown in FIGURES 1-5 and the contents are ejected from chamber a by exerting a squeezing force thereon. However, it is seen that the sterile material contained within chamber a is even less likely to contact an unsterile surface existent between the separable tabs 36 and 37 because of the tubular member 40 extending a distance beyond the terminal separating point of the tabs 36 and 37. Since the tube 40 is formed within the chamber b of the sealed container which also contains the sterile material, the entire inner and outer surfaces thereof exposed upon opening of the tabs 36 and 37 remain in a sterile condition and. assure that the sterile material contained within the chamber a can be applied topically in .a sterile condition.
In the embodiment of the container of the present invention shown in FIGURES and 11, a tubular member 40 is also provided, however, the opening of the container is accomplished in a different manner, yet-still assuring maintenance of a sterile condition upon topical application of its contents. Instead of finger-gripping flaps which are peeled back to expose the tubular member 40, the end of the superimposed sheets 12 and 14 existent above the transverse seal lines 30 and 32 are sealed together about the periphery of chamber b, and immediately above the transverse seal lines 30 and 32 there are provided a pair of slits 41 and 42 which extend inwardly to within close proximity to the base of chamber b. To open the package, the outer surfaces of the sealed together tabs 36 and 37 are pulled longitudinally and upwardly causing the slits 41 and 42 to rupture and extend into the chamber b and permit the chamber b to be withdrawn outwardly over the end of the tube -40. The contents within chamber a are then expelled therefrom identically as described for the embodiment illustrated in FIGURES 6-9.
While I have described my invention with particular reference to several preferred embodiments, it is to be specifically understood that many variations and changes can be made therein while still remaining within the spirit of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. A flexible container having sealed therein a sterile material, said container comprising:
(a) a pair of superimposed sheets of flexible material defining front and rear Walls of said container,
(b) said front and rear walls being sealed together at the bottom and top ends thereof and along their coextensive side edges existent between said sealed bottom and top ends,
(0) the seal at the top end of said container being spaced inwardly from the top end of said superimposed sheets and comprising:
(1) an angular seal line having an apex directed toward the top end of said superimposed sheets and,
(2) a pair of transverse lines directed inwardly from the sides of said container connecting the top ends of said side edge seals with the ends of said angular seal line, each of said transverse seal lines extending inwardly from the ends of said angular seal line and having its inner end spaced from one another below the apex of said angular line,
(d) said inwardly directed seal lines dividing said container into a lower primary chamber and an upper secondary chamber, each containing said sterile material, said chambers communicating with one another between the spaced inner ends of said transverse seal lines through a tube sealed within the spaced inner ends of said traverse seal lines, which tube extends upwardly into said secondary chamber,
(e) said front and rear walls existent beyond the outside of said angular seal line forming tabs which upon exertion of a separating force open said upper secondary chamber down to said transverse seal lines and permit ejection of said sterile contents within said lower primary chamber through said tube without contacting an unsterile surface of said container.
2. The invention as defined in claim 1 wherein said superimposed flexible sheets consist of a laminate of metal foil and a thermoplastic material, said sheets forming the front and rear walls of said container with the thermoplastic layer of said laminate positioned to the interior thereof and said tube is of the same thermoplastic material as the thermoplastic material used in forming said laminate.
3. The invention as defined in claim 1 wherein said seal at the top of said container comprises an angular seal around said secondary chamber defining a finger-engaging tab existent beyond said secondary chamber, said finger-engaging tab being provided with a pair of transversely and inwardly directed slits terminating in close proximity to the base of said secondary chamber above said transverse seal lines, said secondary chamber being opened to expose said tube by tearing said tab in the space between the terminal ends of said slits and said 800,037 4/1936 France.
secondary chamber upon application of a longitudinally and upwardly directed force to said tab.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS OTHER REFERENCES THERON E. CONDON, Primary Examiner.
sleinhargt. LOUIS G. MANCENE, Examiner.
ers er er.
Masfet a1 206 56 10 J. M. CASKIE, Assistant Ex min r- DAlelio.
Barnes 206-56 X 5 German printed application 1,056,953, May 1959.