US 3348674 A
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0. J. POUPITCH CONTAINER CARRIER AND PACKAGE Oct. 24, 1967 JET/612557 Jihsi oyzzd/ Original Filed July 17, 1959 United States Patent Ofi ice 3,348,674 Patented Oct. 24, 1967 3 348,674 CONTAINER CAlQRIER AND PACKAGE Ougljesa Jules Poupitch, Itasca, Ill., assignor to Illinois Tool Works Inc., Chicago, 11]., a corporation of Delaware Original application July 17, 1959, Ser. No. 827,747. Divided and this application Jan. 23, 1967, Ser. No.
8 Claims. 01. 206-65) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This is a division of my copending application, Serial No. 827,747, filed July 17, 1959.
It is now common commercial practice to package beverages, such as beer and soda pop, in cans. It has also been a long-time practice to package many foodstuffs in cans. Further, it is now becoming a common practice to package articles of almost every shape and character in containers, either for the purposes of unitizing and for ease of handling or for corrosion resistance considerations. While this invention relates to and has application for containers of almost all configurations and sizes, it will be described in connection with beverage cans, such as beer and soda pop cans.
In most instances, a plurality of such beverage cans, conveniently six in number, is supplied in a receptable or carrier for home consumption. A plurality of units of six cans generally is shipped in a large carton and this carton is broken open at the retail outlet for sale of the units to the ultimate consumer.
The common older practice relative to beverage can carriers has been of two general types, the type of packaging unit where paper or pasteboard packages are surroundingly disposed to a group of cans, or the other type which utilizes metallic clips which engage the rim portions of adjacent cans.
Paper or pasteboard packaging devices which have been sufiiciently strong to be accepted commercially, have been found to be unduly bulky and expensive and to require rather complicated packaging machinery. Such paper packaging devices substantially completely encase a plurality of cans, thus insulating the cans, and requiring that they be removed from the paper packaging device for eflicient refrigeration. Further, the paper packaging devices do not stand up when disposed in :high humidity areas or in cold water for cooling purposes. Another disability of such paper packaging devices is the difiiculty in opening the packaging device to remove the individual beverage cans.
On the other hand, metallic connectors or clips have not found full commercial acceptance due to the difficulty of applying the clips to the cans in automatic machinery with sufficient permanence so that the cans will not become readily detached from one another. Furthermore, in some prior art one-piece metallic connectors of the bead engaging type which have been sufficiently strong to hold units of cans firmly together, the clips have held the discrete cans in a rigid relationship. That is, all
of the six (or other number) cans in a unit have been more or less rigidly interconnected. When a carton of such rigid units, six being a common number, is dropped,
the tendency is for each rigid unit to direct all of the impact simultaneously in one direction. This causes a substantial impact on the carton, tending to burst the carton. An analogy may be to a solid ball and a mass of loosely retained shot. For equal masses, the ball when dropped, would create a given shock impact, while the loosely retainedshot would dampen the shock substantially below said shock impact.
In my recently issued Patent 2,874,835, I have shown a number of means for resiliently interconnecting and carrying a group of cans by means of an apertured sheet of plastic stretched over a plurality of cans so as resiliently to grip the cans. beneath the upper beads. My aforedescribed patent device does an exemplary job of providmg a carrier.
In view of the foregoing, it is a general object of this invention to provide a device for holding a plurality of containers together as a unit which simultaneously affords protection to at least the major portion of a peripheral head of the individual containers.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a device as aforedescribed which protects the peripheral head against formation of nicks 0r burrs on the bead surfaces due to careless handling and which simultaneously insulates adjacent units of containers one from the other.
It is another object of this invention to provide a device which affords the foregoing functions while maintaining an elastic resilient interconnection between individual bead engaging protecting means, said interconnection absorbing and dampening impact shocks which may occur in handling a carton of units as well as in the handling of individual units.
It is still another object of this invention to provide a combination carrying means and sanitary cover which protects the major portion of the bead of a container from contact with foreign objects.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a carrier of the above stated general characteristics which may be formed either with integral handle means for imparting portability or a quick detachable manually graspable handle which may be inserted at the retail outlet,
or which may be formed with apertures of suitable configuration for easy manual grasping by the person desiring to carry a unit of beverage containers.
Another object of the invention is to provide, in at least one form of the invention, a can carrier which may be easily formed from strip material by a stamping operation.
Another object of this invention is to provide can carrier devices of the aforedescribed nature which afford a substantial planar area for manufacturers and retailers to dispose and display advertising matter upon.
The novel features that I consider characteristic of my invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, both as to its organization and its method of operation, together with additional objects and advantages thereof, will best "be understood by the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with'the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is an isometric perspective view of a modified form of my container carrier and package device;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of a handle adapted to be associated with the device shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 3-3 of FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along lines 44 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view similar to FIG. 4 showing the bead engaging means in detached relation,
relative to the bead.
FIG. 6 is an isometric perspective view of a modified form of my invention;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a handle adapted to be utilized with the devices shown in FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is an isometric perspective view of another container carrier means similar in many respects to the device shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 9 is a sectional view along lines 9-9 of FIG. 8;
FIG. 10 is a fragmentary sectional view of the bead engaging means of FIGS. 8 and 9, shown in a detached relation.
Referring now to FIGS. 1 to of the drawings, a plurality of container means 30, is shown. Each container is shown as a conventional beer or soda pop can and is formed with a generally cylindrical outer wall 31 and opposed end portion walls 32. At the juncture of the side wall 31 and the end walls 32, a conventional bead 33 is formed, said head having a bottom portion 34, a radially outward portion 35, a top portion 36 and a radially inwardly directed portion 37. While I have chosen to depict the inventive concepts with cylindrical container means 30, it is to be expressly noted that the inventive concepts apply with equal facility to containers of other and different configurations.
A receptacle in the form of a cover means 39 is adapted to fit over and snugly engage the individual containers 30. More particularly, the cover means 39 is formed with a plurality of separate, though interconnected, bead engaging means 40 which have substantially the same dimensions and a complementary conforming configuration to that of the bead 33 of the individual containers 30. As
perhaps best shown in FIG. 4, the individual bead engaging means 40 is formed with complementary surfaces for engaging the head 33, there being a first portion 41 which comprises the inwardly directed surface of a thickened depending lip for engaging bottom portion 34 of the bead, a second surface comprising a substantially vertical side portion 42 for engaging the radially outward side of the bead 35 and a third portion 43 complementary to and engageable with top portion 36 of the bead.
The lowermost depending outer end of the bead engaging means is formed with an inwardly directed surface 45, perhaps best shown in FIGS. 4 and 6, which assists in initial assembly as will become apparent. It should be noted that the cross-sectional views relating to thickness of materials are considerably enlarged for purposes of clarity. Further, in some types of materials, the thickened lower lip portion which defines surface 41 is not necessary where the strength of materials employed will afford a uniform cross-section in this area.
The individual bead engaging means 40 are aided in snug engagement of the bead by a substantially planar integral top or base portion 46 which joins and is flush with the portions 43 of the bead engaging means.
The individual bead engaging means 40 do not have a common wall or web therebetween on the inner side and surface portions 41, 42 and 45. These wall portions terminate at 47. Thus, the bead portions 35 of adjacent containers are in contact to thereby reduce the overall dimensions of the package.
The cover means 39 is preferably formed of a plastic material which is resilient, flexible, and elastic, and which will not readily tear. Polyethylene and polystyrene are preferred examples, but any other functionally similar material will serve equally well. In operation, the cover means 39 may be formed in elongated strips rolled on a reel or may be handled individually and are adapted to be inserted over units of cans by conventional food packaging machinery. When the individual bead engaging means 40 are inserted over the beads 33, the inherent elasticity of the material allows deformation of the lower cammed rim 45 and portion 41 so that it may be forced over the bead 33. When the bead engaging portion 43 comes into engagement with the top portion 36 of the head, portion 41 will return radially inwardly to snugly engage and underlie the bottom portion 34 of the bead, resisting unauthorized separation of the container means from the cover. It will be noted that in the final assembly portions 41, 42 and 43 respectively overlie and intimately engage portions 34, 35 and 36 of the bead. To remove the individual containers 30 from the bead engaging means 40, the individual containersmay be grasped and twistingly pulled against the areas of the adjacent cans where the lower portion of the bead engaging means is interrupted. Due to the leverage that may be imparted by grasping the lower portion of the individual containers 30, they may be readily forcibly detached from the unit for serving purposes.
When the cover means 39 is disposed upon the containers, it protects the individual beads 33 from nicks and burrs that might be formed by rough handling of the unit. Further, the individual units are protected one from the other in both up and down relationship and in a side to side relationship by virtue of the top and outer side portions of the cover means 39. The top planar portion of the cover means serves as a dust cover and prevents contact with foreign objects thus keeping the bead surface more sanitary. It should be remembered that from the very nature of the manufacture and packaging of both the cans and the covers and the application of the latter to the cans all done by automatic machinery, the entire package is inherently susceptible to being kept sanitary to prevent a hazard to the user who imbibes directly from the beverage container 30.
Another important function results from the inherent elasticity of the material employed. More particularly, the resilient interconnecting means serve to absorb and dampen impact shocks both by causing a separation of units into individual though connected units, and by virtue of the characteristics of resilient materials per se. This is important because in ordinary handling of the units when they are packaged in, for example, a case lot containing eight discrete units of six packs or the like, it is very usual that the cases will be subjected to dropping distances of three to five feet. Without the resilient interconnection, it has been found, particularly where rigid covers or clips have been used, that a drop of three to five feet will often cause a case to burst due to the impact shock.
In the embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 1-5 three containers are packed. More particularly, the containers 30 are arranged in a triangular relation, and, if desired, may be packaged with both top and bottom cover means 39. A detachable tear strip 62 is molded integral with the bottom lip portion 45 and preferably is connected thereto by an area which is pre-weakened in any suitable manner such as perforations at 61 to provide easy removal of the tear strip 60 when extending end portion 62 is gripped and pulled back in proper manner. The extra bearing surface provided by strip 60 compensates for the lack of directly engaging inner portion 37 of the bead by the cover means 39. A central aperture 63 may be formed in the top of the cover 39 for insertion of a handle means 64 of, for example, the type shown in FIG. 2. The handle 64 may be conveniently formed of plastic material generally D-shaped in crosssection as shown in FIG. 3 and arranged as shown in a closed circular loop, the end portions thereof being formed with flexible barbs 65 which will compress for entry into aperture 63 yet will return to original shape to resist regressive movement of the handle 64. In assembly, the cover means is forced over the arranged containers, the resiliency of the material affording deformation and return of the cover means to the shape shown. It is also within the contemplation of the invention that with the cover means 39 shown, that the aperture 63 may be formed with generally relatively large circular apertures (not shown) to afford a bowling ball type of grip for readily carrying a plurality of containers as a unit. It isalso apparent that the aperture 63 in the form shown may be used for this purpose.
The embodiment shown in FIG. 6 is substantially similar to that shown in FIGS. 1, 4 and 5 as indicated by the application of identical reference numeral-s with the suflix a added to corresponding elements. This structure differs in that the cans are disposed in aligned or parallel relationship and cover 39a is formed .to that end. A pair of apertures 67 and 68 are oppositely disposed and formed'in the planar surface 46a of cover 29 as shown to accommodate a wire handle 69 having olfset ends 70 and 71 which will be disposed diagonally across the center can and the ends of which are insertable under the top portion 46a of the cover between the adjacent cans. The ends 70-71 are angularly disposed inwardly, or stated another way, the ends are parallel to each other while the main portion of the handle crosses the center can.
The embodiment shown in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10 is similar to the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-6 as indicated by the application of identical reference numerals with the suffix b added to corresponding elements. In this embodiment the cover 3% is adapted to engage and retain six units. It will be noted that the primary distinction lies in forming the cover 39b with opposed back to back bead engaging means 40b and 40b. The tear strips 60b and 60b are made as shown or can be made to tear in opposite directions. A relatively thin U-shaped integral handle 90 may be molded to or formed on the outer central peripheral portion 91, the ends being attached at spaced points. Due to the resiliency of the material, the handle 90 may be readily realigned or swung outwardly in the direction of the arrow of FIG. 9 by the user to conveniently carry a unit of six containers 30b. It is preferable that the handle be formed so that it is normally disposed adjacent the cans for stacking and packaging purposes as shown in FIG. 8.
Although specific embodiments of the invention have been shown and described, it is with full awareness that many modifications thereof are possible. The invention, therefore, is not to be restricted except insofar as is necessitated by the prior art and by the spirit of the appended claims.
The invention is claimed as follows:
1. A packaging device adapted to retain a plurality of containers each including an axially and radially extending circumferential bead having top, bottom and side portions located at one end thereof, said bead defining a closed figure having a major dimension, comprising a one-piece elastic plastic shaped carrier member including a plurality of interconnected bead engaging means respectively adapted to engage at least a portion of each individual circumferential bead of the containers, each of the bead engaging means including portions for overlying said top and bottom portions of the beads to prevent unauthorized separation of the individual containers from the package, and a detachable severable extension extending from each of the bead engaging means for engaging sidewalls of the containers for normally restraining removal of the containers from the package and for permitting relative easy removal of the containers upon detachment of the severable extension.
2. A device, as defined in claim 1, which includes a planar base portion connecting said interengaging means and extending for overlying ends of the containers.
3. A device, as defined in claim 2, which includes aperture means in said base portion, and quick insertable handle means disposed within said aperture means for manual engagement by user.
4. A device, as defined in claim 1, which includes additional bead engaging means integral with and projecting oppositely from said first mentioned bead engaging means for enabling the device to contain a plurality of containers in end to end relationship.
5. A device, as defined in claim 4, wherein said additional bead engaging means are substantially identical to said first mentioned bead engaging means.
6. A device, as defined in claim 2, which includes integral handle means fixedly attached to spaced points to margins of said base portion.
7. A device, as defined in claim 2, wherein said base portion is substantially continuous for substantially completely covering and protecting ends of the container.
8. A device, as defined in claim 7, which includes perforated junction means joining said severable depending portions to said bead engaging means for permitting removal of the severable portions.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,202,448 8/1965 Stern et a1. 206- 3,258,288 6/ 1966 Courter 206-6-5 LOUIS G. MANCENE, Primary Examiner.