US 3346106 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
10, 1967 E. R. Gooome 3,34
CONTAINER CARRIER Filed May 5, 1965 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 20 2a FIG. 5 2o 20 mm. :1 l I INHWWHHHH mm 1 (I I I HIHMHHIMH W I 1 lNVENTOA E LWYN R. GOODING ATTORNEYS E. R. eoobme- 3,346,106
- CONTAINER CARRIER Oct. 10, 1967 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 v Filed May 5, 1965 INVENTOR ELWYN R. GOODING A TTOR/VEVS United States Patent 3,346,106 CONTAINER CR Elwyn R. Gooding, Ann Arbor, Mich., assignor to Ex-Cell-O Corporation Filed May 3, 1965, Ser. No. 452,770
' 3 Claims. (Cl. 206-65) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A container carrier for packaging a plurality of cans where the carrier holding elements are physically related so that the carrier retains each can head due to the dimensional relationship therebetween without using elastic or resilient forces. The carrier has arcuate edge portions that underlie only the can bead and are spaced in diametrically opposed relation a distance greater than the outer diameter of the can body and less than the outer diameter of the can bead.
The present invention relates to a container carrier for securing together a group of containers of the type having a peripheral bead or rim on at least one end.
At the present time it is common practice in the container packaging art to secure together, by means of a suitable carrier made from a plastic or like material, a group of containers or cans of beer, soft drinks, or the like, into a package. The carriers function to retain the containers in a compact unit and to provide a carrying handle for the package. Heretofore, carriers of this type have been costly to manufacture, difficult to attach to the containers, and unable to withstand rough treatment.
An object of the present invention is, therefore, the provision of an inexpensive container carrier for securing together a group of containers which is readily adapted to automatic feeding and attachment.
Another object of the invention is the provision of a carrier which securely retains the containers in assembled relation, yet is readily removable by the purchaser.
A further object of the invention is the provision of a container package providing a protective covering at the 'top portions thereof, cmpletely shielding the top portion of each individual container from dirt and contamination, and will thus continue to perform this function, after removal of one or more containers from the package, for the containers remaining in the package.
A further object of the invention is the provision of a container carrier that can be constructed by thermoforming from relatively rigid sheet plastic.
Still another object is to provide a container carrier in which the containers are completely supported by their top portions alone.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a novel one-piece carrier member adapted to be appliedto at least two adjacent containers in a manner so that the carrier retains the containers due to the physical static interlocking relationship of the carrier with the individual container bead or rim.
'A final object of the present invention is the provision -of a container carrier for securing a plurality of containers together to form a multi-container package that is adapted to be stacked on another similar package in substantially the same manner as the conventional carton type package may be stacked.
\ 3,346,136 Patented Oct. 10, 1967 Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent as the following description proceeds, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing a package including six containers disposed in side-by-side substantially abutting and parallel relationship and retained by a carrier incorporating features of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the carrier shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged vertical cross-sectional view taken on line 33 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary bottom plan view of the carrier of FIG. 2.
FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of the carrier shown in FIG. 2.
FIG. 6 is a vertical cross-sectional view taken on line 66 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 7 is an enlarged fragmentary view in cross section taken on line 7-7 of FIG. 2 illustrating the cooperation of the carrier with the intermediate containers.
While the invention is susceptible of various modifications and alternative constructions, a certain illustrative embodiment has been shown in the drawings and will be described below in considerable detail. It should be understood, however, that there is no intention to limit the invention to the specific form disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, alternative cinstructions and equivalents falling within the scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims.
Referring more specifically to FIG. 1, the invention is there exemplified in a container carrier 10, preferably made from sheet plastic material, such as high impact polystyrene or cellulose acetate butyrate, adapted to be attached to a plurality of containers 12 and to combine the same into a single package of merchandise. In the present instance, a package of six is shown, but it is to be understood that the multi-container package could consist of a wide variety of containers and arrangements without departing from the scope of the invention. While the thickness of the sheet material can be varied, depending upon the type of plastic to be used and the weight of the product in the containers, it is contemplated that the carrier material will range in thickness between approximately 15-40 mils. As an example, for a carrier formed from polystyrene and designed to transport relatively heavy products, such as liquids, the thickness of the carrier would be in the range of approximately 25-30 mils. As seen in FIG. 3, each container 12 has circumferential beads 14 extending around at least the upper end portions thereof. Each bead, as will be noted from the drawings, extends not only beyond the top end wall 18 of the container, but also beyond the periphery of the containers side wall 16.
The container carrier 10 comprises two parallel adjacent rows of three container end wall cover discs 20, each of which are interconnected by integral web portions 22 at their adjacent portions. It will be noted in FIG. 6 that discs 20 are formed to lie in a plane vertically spaced above the plane of webs 22.
Formed around the outer periphery of the carrier 10 is a continuous outwardly sloping skirt or flange 24 in tegral with intermittent horizontal planar rib members 26 and hereinafter described periphery of each of the discs 20. Generally triangular dished-out depressions or recesses 28 are spaced along the outer periphery of the carrier and are downwardly formed from the web portions 22 and rib portions 26. FIG. shows that the rib portions 26 are located substantially in the medial horizontal plane of the carrier 10, while the plane of recesses 28 is vertically spaced below the medial plane.
The carrier 16) is downwardly formed from its medial plane in the central interstice between adjacent discs to provide dome-shaped recessed portions 3%. Finger receiving openings 32 having an ellipse configuration are formed in the recesses 30 for carrying and handling purposes. The edges of openings 32 are folded under to provide a smooth edge for the openings.
As can best be seen in FIG. 4, the dished-out portions 28 and 30 provide arcuate edges 34 which are symmetrically positioned at three points in spaced relation about each disc at points substantially 90 removed from each other. The edges 34 are each provided by having their associated recesses 28 and formed in an undercut manner, thereby forming arcuate grooves 36. peripheral retaining edges 35 are formed at the corners of the carrier by the juncture of continuous flange 24 and the lower portion of grooves 36 as shown in the right-hand portion of FIG. 3. Retaining edges 35 are also provided at intermediate side points of the carrier as shown by FIG. 7. By this arrangement each container is retained by the interior edges 34 and the peripheral edges 35 to provide a secure package.
The disc members 20 are provided with upwardly extending circular ridges 38 which define the upper edge of downwardly sloping conical shaped or frustum surface 40. A complementary sloping surface 42 is integrally formed to make a V-shaped furrow 44 with surface 40. The surface 42 extends upwardly into an arched ridge 46 that forms together with edges 34 and 35 the vertical limits of grooves 36.
To permit the containers 12 to be more easily moved into their static interlocked relation with the carrier 10, there are provided sloped lead-in faces indicated by the numeral 48 (FIG. 4). As seen in FIG. 3, these surfaces are sloped inwardly to form with the complemental sloped flange 24 an interrupted conical shaped or frustrum surface. Thus, when a portion of the bead 14 of a container is brought into contact with the inner portion of flange 24 and lead-in surfaces 48, it will be properly oriented to effect a smooth sure guidance of the carrier into the retained position shown in FIG. 3. This selfaligning feature is especially desirable when the carriers are applied by machine in preventing damage to the carriers by correcting for any misalignments between the containers and carriers.
In operation, when a container bead is contracted by the sloping areas 48, 50, a portion of the bead will be directed into interlocked relation with one of the grooves 36. Continued downward movement of the carrier will result in a pivotal movement of edges 34 about the ridge 46 suflicient to allow the remaining portions of the bead 14 to move into their associated grooves whereby the retaining edges 34 pivot back to their static or rest position.
As viewed in FIG. 3, the container is held in static interlocked position by engagement of the arcuate edges 34 and 35 with the underside portion 52 of bead 14. By applicants unique concept, the container is retained in the carrier solely by its dimensional relationship with the carrier. Applicant avoids the use of resilient or elastic forces being applied to the container and thereby attains a positive, physical retention of the container.
It will also be noted that by applicants invention the entire top end wall 18 of each container is sealed from dirt and foreign matter during all stages of dispersement and storage of the package until just before its use by the consumer. This feature has become increasingly important in the container industry due to the advent of self-opening containers which are more susceptible of accumulating foreign mater.
FIG. 4 shows that the curvilinear retaining edges 34 and 35 are intermittent and extend approximately onehalf the circumference of the discs 20, whose center is indicated at 51. The radial lines 53 shown in FIG. 4 intercept the effective retaining portions of edges 34 and 35. It can be seen that with the retaining edges 34 spaced approximately on their centers and having limits in arc length in the range of approximately 15 35 applicants edge areas 34 are able to pivot outwardly upon engagement of bead 14 with surfaces 48 and 50 to permit passage of the container head into its retained location.
The carrier member 10 has areas at the tangent points 54 between adjacent discs 20 where the outward portions of adjacent containers are in substantial abutment. This means that each container bead, when placed in the carrier, is in juxtaposition with adjacent container beads at a minimum of two locations and in the case of the intermediate containers, at three locations. This contact feature adds to the stability of the package and improves its stacking characteristics while reducing the overall volume occupied by the package.
Due to the relative costs of competing packaging methods, it is desirable that carriers of the instant type be formed from low cost plastic material. Further, it is necessary that the carriers be formed into the thinnest possible sections to minimize the amount of material utilized. Heretofore, carriers of the instant type, that is, providing a package that is solely supported by attachment to the upper ends of the containers, have been unable to prevent excessive fanning out of the lower unrestrained ends of the containers. This objectionable tendency to fan out occurs primarily when the package is held by means of finger holes 32 and oriented so that the plane of the carrier is moved from the horizontal.
By utilizing applicants static interlock method of retaining the containers rather than an elastic means, applicant has been able to attain a relatively rigid nonelastic carrier retainer that eliminates excessive fanning out of the containers. This rigidity can be imparted to applicants carrier by the use of strengthening ribs and flanges such as those defined by portions 26, 38 and 44 without affecting the retaining function of the intermittent curvilinear edges 34 and 35.
While the embodiment of the present invention as herein disclosed constitutes a preferred form, it is to be understood that other forms might be adopted.
I claim as my invention:
1. A package of a plurality of cylindrical cans or the like, said package comprising in combination:
(a) a plurality of cans aligned in side by side relation and each having an upwardly and laterally projecting bead at its upper end;
(b) a can securing carrier of non-elastic sheet plastic material having a plurality of integrally formed upwardly displaced discs and downwardly displaced recesses;
(c) said downwardly displaced recesses being intermittently spaced around the periphery of each of the cans on centers that are removed from each other by substantially ninety degrees;
(d) said downwardly displaced recesses each having inwardly extending arcuate edges conforming to the can beads and subtending a radial angle of ninety degrees or less to thereby underlie and engage portions of the underside of each can bead;
(e) each of said discs having a peripheral measurement greater than the beads of the cans, and wherein the diametrically opposed arcuate edges underlying the bead of each can are spaced a distance greater than the outer diameter of the can body and less than the outer diameter of the can bead; and
(f) said discs positioned to overlie the upper ends of the cans so that the distance measured between cen- 5 6 ters adjacent discs being substantially equal to the References Cited distance measured between centers of adjacent cans, UNITED STATES PATENTS wherein each can bead is in direct abutting relation with a minimum of two adjacent beads allowing the 32241576 12/1965 "Whlteford 206' 65 cans to be retained in static interlocked package. 5 FOREIGN PATENTS 2. The package as defined in claim 1 wherein said sheet plastic material has a thickness within the range of 15-40 938683 10/1963 Great Bntam' H1118. JOSEPH R. LEOLAIR, Primary Examiner.
3. The package as defined in claim 1 wherein said arouate edges underlie portions of each can head not ex- 10 LOUIS MANCENE, Examine"- ceeding one hundred and eighty degrees in the aggregate.