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Publication numberUS3367380 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 6, 1968
Filing dateMar 5, 1964
Priority dateMar 5, 1964
Publication numberUS 3367380 A, US 3367380A, US-A-3367380, US3367380 A, US3367380A
InventorsJohn W Dickey
Original AssigneeDev Consultants Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Collapsible container
US 3367380 A
Images(5)
Previous page
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb. 6, 1968 J. w. DICKEY 'COLLAPSIBLE CONTAINER 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March 5, 1964 6 INVENTOR. JOHN W. DacKE 11 1M I 4m ATTORNEYS.

Feb. 6, 1968 J.. w, DlCKEY 3,367,380

COLLAPSIBLE CONTAINER Filed March 5, 1964 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 24a 24 go 23 22 Fig. 9

INVENTOR. JOHN W. DICKEY BY @maa ATTORNEYS,

Feb. 6, 1968 J. w. DICKEY 3,367,380

COLLAPSIBLE CONTAINER Filed March 5, 1964 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 -2 Fig.22

F I l i F 62 l 6 43 if i 14 7? W DINVENTOR 6 V IF/ L/ BY JOHN 10mm,

ATTORNEYS.

Feb. 6, 1968 J. w. DlCKEY 3,367,380

COLLAPS IBLE CONTAINER Filed March 5, 1964 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTOR JOHN W DICKEY,

ATTORNEYS.

Feb. 6, 1968 J. W. DICKEY COLLAPS I BLE CONTAINER Filed March 5, 1964 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR.

JoH I tam ATTORNEYS,

BYld

United States Patent Ohio Filed Mar. 5, 1964, Ser. No. 349,667 23 Claims. (Cl. 1501) The invention relates to collapsible containers and more particularly to collapsible containers made of flexible plastic material.

At the present time, many products in a liquid, powder, or fluid form are packaged, shipped and used in paper, paperboard or plastic containers. In general, considerable expense is incurred in shipping such containers, in fully fabricated form to the place of filling, since as much space is required to .ship and store the containers when empty as when full. To obviate this, such containers are often brought to the place of filling in knocked-down form, but this entails the time consuming and expensive step of assembly before filling can take place.

In the interest of overcoming the above disadvantages, paper or paperboard cartons have been developed which when fully fabricated may be, at least in part, collapsed. However, when such cartons are intended to contain liquid or fluid material, they are generally coated on the inside (or inside and outside) with a wax or plastic material to render them water-proof. Collapsing of such containers generally cracks this coating at the fold lines, ultimately resulting in a wicking condition. Plastic containers, too, have been devised which may be fully fabricated and then in part at least collapsed. Usually, such containers when collapsed are of an odd configuration with their over-all dimensions reduced only by about onehalf. Sometimes a further economy of space can be achieved by so designing the containers that when in collapsed form they will be nestable, but even then their configuration is such that they cannot be packaged, shipped, or stored without some Waste space.

When containers of the type described above, which are normally brought to the filling step in fully erected form, are to be filled with a product which will be subject to oxidation or a drying effect (such as paints, cements, photographic developing solutions, and the like) special steps must be taken to eliminate air within the container during the filling storage and use. The same is true when the product to be contained is a volatile or hazardous liquid, or a sterile product. Difficulty is also often found in filling such containers with products such as milk or the like subject to foaming during a high speed filling operation, or subject to deterioration from entrained air.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a container made of plastic material, which for purposes of shipment, storage and the like, may be collapsed.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a collapsible container which will not be subject to extensive wear, breakage, or to wicking at its fold lines.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a collapsible container which may be easily and inexpensively manufactured, and provided with any suitable closure means.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a collapsible container which may be in collapsed condition with substantially zero volume at the initial stage of the filling operation. This will permit high speed filling operations with products subject to foaming, or subject to deterioration from entrained air. This will also permit the packaging of products by means of a vacuum-pressure filling procedure without damage to or entrapment of air Patented Feb. 6, 1968 in the container, thereby preventing oxidation, contamination or drying of the product.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a collapsible container from which volatile and hazardous liquids, or those with obnoxious odors can be dispensed without venting losses into the surrounding room while no mixture of air and explosive vapor can occur within the container.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a collapsible container which may be molded under sterile conditions and which is easily adaptable for sterile filling with blood plasma, medicines and the like.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a collapsible container which obviates the necessity of venting during the dispensing of contents therefrom.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a collapsible container which when partially empty can be stored in a semi-collapsed condition, and from which all of the contents may be dispensed, since the container collapses completely.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a container which may be partially filled with materials requiring dilution or mixing, and shipped and stored in a semi-collapsed condition. When the materials to be mixed or diluted are to be used, the container of the present invention may be expanded to provide the measure and containment for the finished product.

It is an object of the invention to provide a collapsible container from which heavy, viscous 0r thixotropic materials may be easily and completely dispensed.

These and other objects of the invention which will be described hereinafter, or will be apparent to one skilled in the art upon reading these specifications, are accomplished by that structure and arrangement of parts of which certain exemplary embodiments will now be described. Reference is made to the drawings wherein:

FIGURE 1 is a plan view of one embodiment of the container of the present invention.

FIGURE 2 is a side elevation of the container of FIGURE 1.

FIGURE 3 is a plan view of the container of FIGURE 1 in semi-collapsed condition.

FIGURE 4 is a side elevation of the container of FIGURE 1 in a semi-collapsed condition.

FIGURE 5 is a plan view of the container of FIGURE 1 in a fully collapsed condition.

FIGURE 6 is a cross-sectional view of the container taken along the section line 66 of FIGURE 2.

FIGURE 7 is a cross sectional view of the container taken along the section line '7-7 in FIGURE 5.

FIGURE 8 is a perspective view illustrating the formation of the carton in two parts.

FIGURE 9 is a partial elevational view illustrating one form of closure means for the carton.

FIGURE 10 is a partial cross-sectional view taken along the section line 1t)10 of FIGURE 9.

FIGURE 11 is a perspective view of a clip means for closing a spout of the type illustrated in FIGURES l and 2.

FIGURE 12 is a perspective view of a plug connection for use with a spout of the type illustrated in FIG- URES 1 and 2.

FIGURE 13 is a cross-sectional view of a packing case containing a plurality of the containers of the present invention, provided with non-fold down spouts.

FIGURES 14 and 15 are perspective views of spout closure means.

FIGURES 16 and 17 illustrate means for holding a spout in folded condition.

FIGURE 18 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the container of the present invention provided with carrying means.

FIGURE 19 is a partial cross sectional view of a spout provided with internal sealing means.

FIGURES 20 through 23 illustrate a disposable filling means for the containers of the present invention.

FIGURE 24 illustrates a container of the present invention provided with means for dispensing the contents through a needle.

FIGURE 25 illustrates another embodiment of the container of the present invent-ion.

FIGURE 26 illustrates another embodiment of the container of the present invention.

FIGURE 27 illustrates another embodiment of the container of the present invention.

FIGURE 28 is a partial cross-sectional view of the upper port-ion of the container of FIGURE 27.

FIGURE 29 illustrates the container of FIGURE 27 in nearly fully collapsed position.

FIGURE 30 illustrates another embodiment of the container of the present invention.

FIGURE 31 illustrates yet another embodiment of the container of the present invention.

FIGURE 32 is a plan view of the outer wrapper of the container of FIGURE 31 in unfolded condition.

FIGURE 33 is a partial perspective view of one of the side members of the container of FIGURE 31.

FIGURE 34 illustrates the upper portion of a container of the present invention provided with additional corrugations.

FIGURES 1 and 2 illustrate one embodiment of the container of the present invention in its expanded condition. The container is of a generally rectangular configuration, having a top 2, a bottom 3, a front wall 4, a rear wall 5, and side walls 6 and 7. The embodiment illustrated in FIGURES l and 2 may be provided with an integral spout 8.

The container is a collapsible one, with the side walls 6 and 7 and the top and bottom 2 and 3 adapted to fold generally inwardly to cause the front wall 4 and the rear wall to approach each other as the container is collapsed. The fold lines have been shown in FIGURES l and 2, and for purposes of clarity the inwardly folding lines are indicated by dashed lines, while the outwardly folding lines are indicated by dot-dash lines. When the container is collapsed, the top 2 is caused to fold downwardly along the fold line 9, located centrally of the top and extending between the sides 6 and 7. The bottom 3 folds upwardly along a similar fold line (not shown) extending from side 6 to side 7 centrally of the bottom. The sides 6 and 7 fold inwardly toward each other along fold lines such as those indicated at through 14 in FIG- URE 2. As is most clearly shown in FIGURE 2, the inward folding of the top, bottom and sides is accommodated by the outward folding of portions of the sides near the top and bottom along the fold lines and 16.

FIGURES 3 and 4 illustrate the carton in semicollapsed condition. FIGURES 5 and 7 show the container as fully collapsed. It will be noted from these figures that by the folds described above the container is caused to collapse on itself to produce a structure having the same top-to-bottom and side-to-side dimensions, but a front-to-back dimension which is only a fraction of that of the fully expanded container.

The container of the present invention may be made of any suitable plastic such as polyethylene, high impact styrene, Teflon (tetra fiuoroethylene polymer), saran, and the like. The choice of material used will depend largely upon the size of the container to be made, the strength of the container desired, and the contents to be introduced therein. Similarly, the wall thickness of the container will be governed by size, by the materials used and by the contents to be introduced therein.

In addition to the factors mentioned above, other steps may be taken in accordance with the material from which the container is to be made, the size of the container, and the contents to be placed therein to insure a free standing container which will maintain its shape. For example, as illustrated in FIGURE 6, the fold lines may be indented or otherwise demarked from the remaining wall portions as at 15. Furthermore, edge portions of the container, and primarily the vertical edge portions may be made slightly rounded as at 16. These expedients may be accomplished during the molding process by means well known in the art. If additional strength is desired, the front wall 4 and rear wall 5 of the container may be provided with corrugations or ribs. For purposes of an exemplary showing, the container as illustrated in FIGURES 1 through 5 is shown as having horizontal ribs generally indicated at 17.

The container of the present invent-ion may be made as a single unitary structure, or as a two piece structure by any suitable molding process well known in the art including blow-molding or vacuum-forming. When made in two pieces, the mating edges of these .pieces will be sealed together in suitable ways including heat sealing.

FIGURE 8 illustrates an exemplary way in which the container of the present invention may be formed from two parts. The two parts are illustrated at 18 and 19. The part 18 includes the front wall 4, the side wall 7, the bottom 3 and one-half of the spout 8. The part 19 comprises the top 2, the side wall 6, the rear wall 5 and the other half of spout. Thus, the mating edges lie between the front wall 4 and the side wall 6; the bottom 3, the side wall 6 and the rear wall 5; the side wall 7 and the rear wall 5; and the top 2, side wall 7 and front wall 4. When the container is provided with a spout 8 the outwardly extending side edges of the spout comprise the mating edges.

When the container is formed in one piece as by blowmolding, it will be understood by one skilled in the art that the parting line of mold may lie along the plane of symmetry which extends longitudinally and centrally of the front and rear walls and through the central portion of the top and bottom.

If the container is to be provided with a spout, it will preferably be a fiat tubular structure as shown at 8 in FIGURES l and 2. The spout 8 may be located at the edge between the front wall 4 and the top 2, and centrally thereof. The spout may constitute an integral portion of the container and when the container is molded as a unitary, one-piece structure, the spout may be molded at the same time. If the container is to be formed from two pieces, the spout may be molded in two pieces as shown in FIGURE 8. In its simplest form, the open end 20 of the spout 8 may be closed, after the container has been filled, by heat sealing. FIGURE 13 shows a plurality of containers 1 (in filled condition) arranged in a packing case 2 1 for shipment. When so arranged, the spout 8 of each con-tainer may be caused to overlie the top or bottom portion of an adjacent container as illustrated. In this way, the spout 8 may be accommodated without necessitating waste space in the packing case.

In FIGURE 9, a container 1 is illustrated, the front wall 4 of which is provided with horizontally extending strengthening ribs 17. An integral spout 8 is provided centrally of the edge between the front wall 4 and the top 2. Near its end, the spout 8 has a circumferentially extending score line as at 22. The spout may be closed by heat sealing that portion thereof which extends from the end 20 to a line (indicated at 23) just above the score line 22. When the spout is to be opened, the heat sealed portion may be removed by tearing or cutting the spout along the score line 22. To assist in this, a V-shaped notch 24 may be provided in the end 20 extending toward the score line 22. This V-shaped notch will enable the user to tear down to the center portion of the score line 22 and then laterally along the score line toward the edges of the spout. To assist in this, an additional score line 24:: may be provided extending from the bottom of the notch 24 to the score line 22.

Since the container and its integral spout are to be made of flexible plastic material, when not in use, the spout may be disposed of by folding it rearwardly along the container top 2 or downwardly along the top surface of the front wall 4. As illustrated in FIGURES 9 and 10, a number of the ribs near the top of the front wall 4 may be formed so as not to extend across the full width of the front wall. Such ribs are illustrated at 25. As will be noted, the ribs 25 are spaced from each other by a distance slightly less than the width of the spout 8. The opposing ends of the ribs 25 are undencut as at 26 so that the distance between Opposing undercut portions of the ribs is equal to or slightly greater than the width of the spout 8. Thus when the spout is folded forwardly and downwardly along the front wall 4, the edges of the spout may be snapped into the undercut portions 26 of the ribs 25 so that the spout is held in its folded position. This is illustrated in FIGURES 3 to 5 and 7. A sealing of the spout will be effected by the fold made therein along the edge between the front wall 4 and the top 2.

In instances where a container of the present invention is provided with a spout adapted to be molded and held in folded condition when the container is not in use, and where the spout is to be sealed by folding only, additional sealing means at the fold may be provided. This is illustrated in FIGURE 19, which is a cross-see tional view through a spout. The additional sealing means comprises two strip-like elements 8a and 8b affixed to the inside surfaces of the container and the spout at the point where the spout will fold. The elements 8a and 8b may be made of any suitable material including rubher, soft plastic, or other suitable elastomers. It is also within the scope of the invention to form the elements 8a and 8b as a unitary structure in the form of a short flattened tube section or to line the entire inne surface of the spout with such material. It will be obvious from FIG. 19, that when the spout is folded either along the top 2 of the container or the front 4, the elements 8a and Sb will contact each other to form a complete seal.

In some instances, it may be found preferable not to heat seal the end of the spout 8. Similarly, it may be desirable to provide means for reclosing the spout once the sealed portion has been removed. In these instances, a closure may be achieved by means of a clip. An exemplary clip is illustrated in FIGURE 11 at 27. The clip 27 may be made of any suitable resilient material including plastic or metal. The clip is a unitary structure having two longitudinally extending opposed portions 28 and 29. The spring portion 30 and spring portions 31 and 32 tend to urge the inner surfaces of the longitudinally extending portions 28 and 29 tightly together. The spring portions 31 and 32 may be provided with tabs 31a and 32a, respectively, which may be permanently joined together by any suitable means (such as welding if metal, or heat sealing if plastic). The end of the spout 8 may be slipped between the opposed members 28 and 29 and held in a closed and sealed condition thereby. Material may be dispensed from the container simply by squeezing the container, since the pressure of the contents within the spout will be sufficient to cause the members 28 and 29 to part.

Another closure for the spout 8 in the form of a dispersing connection is illustrated in FIGURE 12. Here a closure plug 33 may be provided with a hose or tubing connection 34 and a rearwardly extending oval shank portion 35 having a perforation 35a. The shank portion 35 may taper rearwardly if desired. The shank portion 35 of the plug 33 may be forced into the spout 8, the outside dimensions of the shank 35 and the inside dimensions of the spout 8 being so related as to cause the plug 33 to be frictionally held in the spout. The tubing connection 34 may be provided Wth cap means (not shown) when the container is not in use.

FIGURES 14 and illustrate cap means for the spout 8. The caps of FIGURES 14 and 15 may be made of any suitable material including plastic or metal and will serve not only as closure means for the spout, but will also protect the pouring lip from contamination. The cap of FIGURE 14, generally indicated at 36, comprises an elongated member having a deep longitudinal slot 37 of such size as to receive the end of the spout 8. One side of the slot 37 may be so configured as to bow inwardly as at 37a to insure a press fit on the spout end. In this way, a cap with closed ends is provided.

The cap of FIGURE 15, generally indicated at 38, comprises an elongated, substantially U-shaped member. One side of this closure means may be slightly longitudinally depressed as at 39 to insure a press fit on the spout end. The other side of the cap means may have its upper edge flared as at 40 to facilitate insertion of the spout into the cap 38.

FIGURES l6 and 17 illustrate an embodiment of the container of the present invention providing another means for holding the spout S in a downwardly folded position. In this embodiment, the front wall 4 of the container 1 is provided with bulged bosses 41 and 42. The bosses 41 and 42 are provided with undercut portions 43 and 44 respectively which are opposed to each other and spaced by a distance slightly greater than the width of the spout 8. As illustrated in both FIGURES 16 and 17, the spout is provided with a cap means 45 which may be of either type shown in FIGURES 14 and 15. The depth of the undercut portions 43 and 44 will be so dimensioned as to receive the ends of the cap means 45. As most clearly shown in FIGURE 17, when the spout is folded downwardly and the cap means 45 snapped into the undercut portions of the bosses, the spout will not only be held in its folded position, but will be closed and sealed both by the cap means 45 and the fold formed in the spout at 46. It will be noted from FIGURE 16, that the distance between the bosses 41 and 42 at the point just below the cap means 34 may be such as to provide a thumb space for prying the cap 45 and spout 8 out of its snap-in locked position.

FIGURE 26 illustrates a container similar to that shown in FIGURES 1 through 7, but provided with means to insure that when the carton is in collapsed condition it will have a substantially zero internal volume. Like parts have been given like index numerals. As will be understood by one skilled in the art, when a container of the type illustrated is collapsed, the sides will fold inwardly along the fold line 10, but upper and lower portions of the sides will fold outwardly along fold lines 15 and 16. As a result, upper and lower portions of the collapsed container will have a thickness of eight plies, while the remainder of the collapsed carton will have a thickness of four plies (see FIGURE 7). To accommodate this dif ference in thickness, the carton shown in FIGURE 6 is provided on its front wall and its rear wall (not shown) with certain depressed areas. Upper and lower portions of the front wall 2 are provided with triangular depressions 48 and 49 respectively, and the central portion of the front wall is provided with a rectangular depression 50. It will be noted that the central depression 50 extends substantially the full width of the carton, but does not include the vertical edges of the carton. This arrangement permits the vertical edges of the carton to remain continuous, so that the carton will be strong and free standing. The undepressed areas of the front wall 2 are triangular, and are indicated at 51 through 54. When the carton is in collapsed condition, these undepresseed areas 51 through 54 will lie over that portion of the carton which has a thickness of eight plies. The depressed areas 48, 49, and 50 will lie over that portion of the carton which has a thickness of four plies. In this way, a carton may be provided which when collapsed will have a substantially zero internal volume.

The carton of FIGURE 26 is illustrated as having a spout 8 with a cap means 36 (see FIGURE 14). When the length of the spout is such that, in folded position, the spout and the cap will fit wholly within the depressed area 48, the spout may be held in folded position by slipping the cap 36 under a band which is affixed to the undepressed areas 51 and 52 and extends over a portion of the depressed area 48. Such a band is illustrated in dotted lines at 55.

FIGURE 26 also illustrates an alternate method of retaining the spout in folded condition. As illustrated in dotted lines, the undepresseed areas 51 and 52 may be provided with undercuts 56 and 57, extending into the depressed area 48 and adapted to hold the cap 36 in a snap-in locked position.

It will be noted from FIGURE 26, that the provision of depressions on the front and rear walls of the container not ony provide the container with a substantially zero internal volume when collapsed, but will also tend to strengthen the front and rear walls in a Way similar to the embossed ribs described above.

Another embodiment of the container of the present application is illustrated in FIGURE 25. Again, this container is similar to that illustrated in FIGURES 1 through 7, but it will be noted that the sides, top, and bottom have been doubled. Again, like fold lines and structure have been given like index numerals. In a container of this type, the vertical and horizontal edges, and the outwardly folding lines 58 and 59 may be radiused to provide a strong, free standing container. To enable the container to have a minimum internal volume when collapsed, the rear wall (not shown) and the front wall 2 may be provided with centrally located vertically extending depressions 60. The undepressed portions 61 and 62 will tend to accommodate the thickness of the multiple side folds when the container is collapsed. The container may also be provided with a spout 8 having cap means 63 of the type illustrated in FIGURE 14 or 15. The undepressed areas 61 and 62 may be provided with undercuts as at 64 and 65 to receive the cap 63 in snap-in locked position.

Another embodiment of the container of the present application is illustrated in FIGURES 27 through 29. This embodiment differs from those described heretofore in that it comprises a substantially cylindrical body 66 with an enclosed top 67 and an enclosed bottom (not shown). The cylindrical body 66 is provided with two vertically extending diametrically opposed fold lines, one of which is shown at 68. The top 67 is adapted to fold outwardly along the central fold line 69, and inwardly along the arcuate fold lines 70 and 71. The top is also provided with a plurality of fold lines extending perpendicular to the fold line 69. These fold lines are generally indicated at 72. Alternate ones of the fold lines 72 are adapted to fold inwardly, while the remaining ones are adapted to fold outwardly. These alternate inward and outward lines of folding are provided to allow diametrical extension of the top 67 when in folded condition. It will be noted from FIGURE 27 that when the container is fully erected, the fold lines 69, 70 and 71 are shortened by virtue of partial folding of the top along the lines 72. It will be understood by one skilled in the art that the bottom of the container is formed in the same manner as the top. A container of the type illustrated in FIGURE 27, is preferably blow-molded from relatively flexible plastic material. The central portion 66a of the cylindrical body 66 may be recessed or depressed as shown. The undepressed portions of the body, 73 through 76 are so configured as to accommodate the thickness of the multiple top and bottom folds, so that when the container is in collapsed condition it will have substantially zero internal volume. This is more clearly illustrated in FIGURES 28 and 29. FIGURE 28 illustrates the upper portion of the container in cross-section. As shown, the container is in extended condition. FIGURE 29 illustrates the container of FIG- URE 27 in nearly completely collapsed position. It will be noted from this figure that the recessing or depression of the central portion 66a of the container body will enable the container to have a substantially zero internal volume when fully collapsed.

The container of FIGURE 27 is illustrated as having a spout 77 similar to the spout heretofore described. The spout may be provided with a closure cap '78 similar to those shown in FIGURES l4 and 15. This closure cap differs only in that its rear wall is extended at both ends as shown in dotted lines at 79. The container may be provided with bulged bosses 80 and 81 which may be con tinuations of the undepressed body portion 73. These bosses are provided with undercuts as at 82 and 83 which are adapted to engage the extended rear wall of the cap closure so as to hold the spout and the cap in snap-in locked position.

An additional embodiment of the present invention is illustrated in FIGURE 30. In this embodiment a wedge shaped container has a front and a rear wall, and triangularly. shaped sides. The front wall 82 meets the rear wall on the fold line 83. The triangular sides, one of which is shown at 84, are provided with a centrally located, vertically extending fold lines as at 85. As in the case of the containers shown in FIGURES 2, 25 and 26, the bottom portions of the sides are provided with additional fold lines as at 86 through 88. The bottom of the container (not shown) will be formed in exactly the same manner as the bottom of the container illustrated in FIGURE 2. The bottom will have a centrally located, inwardly directed fold line. When the container of FIGURE 30 is collapsed, the front and rear walls will approach each other, folding along the line 83. The sides will fold inwardly along the fold lines through 87, and outwardly along the fold line 88. The bottom of the container will fold inwardly or upwardly.

The container of FIGURE 30 may be provided with a spout 89 located along the line 83 between the front and rear walls, and similar to the spout heretofore described. It will be understood that any of the closure means herein disclosed may be used with the spout 89.

The container of FIGURE 30 is particularly adapted to be formed from relatively thin plastic material. Thus by virtue of its configuration, this container will be free standing, having good strength characteristics.

In the long time storage of paints, chemicals, certain other materials including food stuffs and the like, it is often preferable to provide a container having a foil barrier to protect the contents from outward diffusion of volatiles 01 inward diffusion of air or moisture. However, such containers do not lend themselves to one-piece molding or two-piece molding as illustrated in FIGURE 8. The container of the present invention may be fabricated from laminates of metal foil with papers or plastics as shown in FIGURES 31 through 33. It has been found that such laminates are characterized by good strength qualities and the ability to bend or fold without deterioration at the fold lines. For example, a container of the type to be described fabricated from metal foil with a relatively stretchable plastic film tightly bonded to one or. both sides is remarkably resistant to deterioration at fold lines, and even if pin holes do occur in the foil, the plastic laminates will prevent leaks or wicking, and the overall vapor transport will be low.

Referring to FIGURE 31, the container is similar to that shown in FIGURE 2, and comprises a front wall 90, a rear wall 91, a top 92, a bottom 93, and side panels one of which is shown at 94. As in the case of the container of FIGURE 2, the side panel 94 is adapted to fold inwardly along fold lines 95 through 99, and outwardly along fold lines and 101.

i The container of FIGURE 31 differs from those heretofore described in that it is formed from two side panels and an outer band. This band is illustrated in FIGURE 32 and comprises the front wall 90, the bottom 93, the rear wall 91, and the top 92. if the container is to be provided with a spout similar to those described above, the spout 103 will be formed in two halves, 103a and 10312. One of these spout halves appears at each end of the band. The side panels will be formed and prefolded as illustrated in FIGURE 33. It will be noted, that the side panel 94 will be provided with a continuous fiange 95 about its periphery, which is adapted to be sealed to the edges of the band of FIGURE 32. The container would be formed by first heat sealing the end edges of the band of FIGURE 32, and the side edges of the spout halves 103a and 1tl3b. The side panels would then be heat sealed to the band by sealing the flange 95 of the side panels to the longitudinal edges of the band. This assembly may be performed while the carton is in flattened or nearly flattened condition by any suitable'heat sealing means.

It will be understood by one skilled in the art that any of the spout closure means heretofore described may be applied to the spout 103 of the container. Furthermore, since the general configuration of the container of FIG- URE 31 is similar to that of FIGURE 26, and since the wall thickness will be greater by virtue of the fact that the walls are laminated, the container of FIGURE 31 may be provided with depressed portions on its front and rear' walls as described above. In this way, a lami nated container may be provided which is collapsible, and which when collapsed will have a substantially zero internal volume.

The container illustrated in FIGURES 1 through 7, 25, 26, 30 and 31 through 33, may be formed of a relatively heavy gauge material. This is preferable especially in the case where such containers are made in relatively large sizes. In such instances, however, some resistance to folding, and hence a rolling action, may be experienced at those points on the container sides where the fold lines meet. These points are indicated in the figures by the letter A.

One way of curing this difficulty is to provide the sides of the containers with additional inwardly directed fold lines. For purposes of an exemplary showing, such lines are illustrated at 104 in FIGURE 26, and FIGURE 30. The provision of such additional fold lines will tend to facilitate the rolling action along the outwardly directed fold lines in the sides. Thus, the containers of FIGURES 26 and 30 may be more easily collapsed by the induced rolling action along the fold lines and 16 (FIGURE 26) and the fold line 88 (FIG. 30).

Another method of relieving the forces at the points A is illustrated in FIGURE 34. This figure illustrates a carton similar to that shown in FIGURE 2 and like index numerals have been used. As shown, the top 2 of the container may be provided with a plurality of corrugations 105 extending along the top, perpendicular to the fold line 9. When the container is collapsed, the forces tending to resist folding at point A will be relieved by a slight expansion along the fold line 9 in the top 2.

As stated above, the containers of the present invention may be molded of a plastic material by any suitable molding method well known in the art. Whether the containers are to be molded as one-piece units, or as multipiece units, it is preferable that they be molded in a slightly collapsed condition. For example, as shown in FIGURES 7 and 8, the two container parts may be molded as illustrated. -It has further been found preferable, to remove the container or the container parts from the mold while they are still in a somewhat thermoplastic state, and depress them to a fully collapsed position. Thus, the container before filling, or as it is being emptied, will tend to return to its collapsed position. The more nearly empty the container becomes, the less storage space it will require.

As above noted, the containers of the present application may be brought to a filling station in collapsed condition with substantially zero volume. It will also be understood by one skilled in the art that these containers may be brought to a filling station in fully erected and free standing condition. This may be accomplished by introducing through the spout or other opening, a sufiicient amount of air other gas to expand the container to the point where the inwardly directed fold lines are caused to bend outwardly. When the container has been molded in a partially collapsed condition (as described above) there is not a-sufficient amount of material in the surfaces joined by the inwardly directed fold lines to permit these surfaces to remain in a coplanar position. Thus when the inwardly directed fold lines have been forced beyond this coplanar position of the surfaces they join, there will be a tendency to lock in this extended condition.

FIGURES 20 through 23 illustrate a means for filling the container when it is desired by the user to dilute or return some of the contents. This means comprises a disposable filling funnel. Referring to FIGURE 20, the funnels may be formed in pairs by heat sealing tWo superposed webs of flexible plastic material 106 and 107 along the lines 108, 109 and 110. In this way funnels 111 and 112 are formed, which may be severed from the webs along the heat seal lines 108 to with no waste of plastic material. It will be noted that the funnels such as the one indicated at 111 will have a wide portion ending in an open end 111a and a narrow portion ending in an open end 1111:.

FIGURES 21 and 22 illustrate a ring 113 which may be made of semi-rigid plastic tubing, having a radiused peripheral surface (FIGURE 21) and an oval configuration (FIGURE 22).

FIGURE 23 illustrates the use of the disposable funnel. The ring 113 is first inserted into the narrow open end 111b of the funnel 111. This will give funnel end sufficient rigidity that it may then be inserted into the spout 114a of a container 114. The ring 113 will also tend to hold the spout 114a in open position. Material to be introduced into the container may then be poured into the large opening 111a of the funnel. If the material is thick or viscous, when the funnel is full its open end 111a may be closed with a clamp or twisted shut and held by any suitable means such as a rubber band or the like. The thick or viscous material may then be worked into the container by squeezing the funnel. After use, the funnel may simply be disposed of.

In many instances, and particularly when large size containers are used, it is desirable for ease and convenience of handling to provide some sort of carrying means for the container. While it would be within the scope of the present invention to provide the container with integral handle means, such handle means would tend to add to the overall dimensions of the container, especially in its collapsed condition. FIGURE 18 illustrates a carrying means which may be packaged with the container or separately; and in either instance would contribute very little to the overall dimensions of the container and would not at all interfere with the collapsing thereof. The carrying means comprises a continuous belt or strap 116 which may be made of any suitable strong, flexible material including plastic, fibre, paper or the like. While the size of the strap does not constitute a limitation on the present invention, it may be made having a circumferential length only slightly larger than the peripheral dimension of the front wall 117 of the container. This would enable the strap 116 to be slipped over the front wall of the container and so placed on the container as to bisect the sides thereof and lie along the central fold lines of the container top and bottom. The natural tendency of the bottom to fold slightly inwardly will serve to hold the strap in place, and the tendency of both the top and bottom to fold inwardly will insure sufficient room between the container top and strap 116 to enable the strap to be grasped by the hand of the user.

As will be understood by one skilled in the art, the container of the present invention is particularly adapted to pressure dispensing. For example, if the container were caused to rest on its front Wall, and a spring or weight load were applied to the rear wall, unvented dispensing of the contents would be achieved without the necessity of pumps or valves. The natural tendency of the container to return to its collapsed condition would also permit gravity dispensing when the container is supported on its front wall in an elevated position. The container is also particularly adapted to squeeze bottle applications.

The container of the present invention has thus far been described as having a spout. It will be understood by one skilled in the art, that other openings and closure means could be provided including plugs, screw caps, tear tabs, tear corners, and the like.

The container of the present invention is also particularly adapted for use as a sterile package. For example, it could be blow-molded with sterile air, and the filling spout sealed. When contents are to be introduced, the filling spout could be cut and then rescaled after the filling operation. In the case of blood plasma and other hospital supplies, delivery of the contents could be obtained with a needle puncture tube and there would be no contamination since the container need not be vented because it would collapse upon delivery of the material.

FIGURE 24 illustrates a container of the present invention adapted for use as a sealed hypodermic dispenser. The container 118 is provided with a spout 119 extending the full width of the container. The spout is heat sealed from the line 120 to its end 121 as indicated by dashed cross-hatch lines. The spout contains a hypodermic needle 122 with its upper end permanently heat sealed within the spout as at 123. Below the line 120 the spout is provided with a transverse circumferential score line 124. From the score line 124 to its end 121, the spout is heat sealed throughout, except for that portion covering the needle 122. The spout end 121 may be provided with a V-shaped notch 125 and longitudinal score lines, one of which is shown at 126, extending from the notch 125 to the score line 124 on both sides of the needle.

In use, the container is filled and the spout 119, provided with the needle 122, is heat sealed as described under sterile conditions. When the contents are to be dispensed, the spout is torn longitudinally by means of the V-shaped notch and score line 126. The excess heat sealed portion of the spout is removed by lateral tearing along the score line 124, exposing the needle 122, ready for use. If the spout 119 is maintained in a semi-folded position during the tearing operation, the contents will t remain sealed in the container at the fold line 127 of the spout. Additional internal sealing means 128 (as described with respect to FIGURE 19) may also be employed.

Modifications may be made in the invention without departing from the spirit of it. The invention having been described in certain exemplary embodiments, what is claimed as new and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:

What is claimed is:

1. A collapsible container, of resilient non-wicking material and having a series of one-piece walls foldably joined together, said series of walls including at least one pair of opposed walls, the walls of said pair having at least one centrally disposed fold line in each, other fold lines joined said first mentioned fold lines and lying at an angle thereto, said first mentioned fold lines forming part of a continuous fold line extending peripherally about said container and lying in a single plane, said container being normally in collapsed condition when empty, said container being biased to remain in said collapsed condition until expanded, said container being free-standing and self-sustaining when expanded, said container being free-standing and self-sustaining when in said col- 12 lapsed condition when resting on a surface perpendicular to said plane.

2. A collapsible container of resilient non-wicking material and having a series of one-piece walls, said series comprising a front wall, a rear wall, opposite side walls, and a bottom wall, said side walls and said bottom wall being foldably joined together at their respective ends and being foldably joined at their sides to said front wall and said rear wall respectively, and a continuous fold line extending completely around said container centrally of said bottom and side walls and lying in a single plane, there being also fold lines in the opposed pair of side wall, said last mentioned fold lines extending from the corners of the walls of the said opposed pair diagonally to the said continuous fold line, said walls being biased to fold inwardly for the collapse of said container with said front wall and said rear wall approaching each other, said container being normally in collapsed condition when empty, said container being biased to remain in said collapsed condition until expanded, said container being free-standing and self-sustaining when expanded, said container being free-standing and self-sustaining when in said collapsed condition when resting on a surface perpendicular to said plane.

3. A collapsible container of resilient, non-wicking material, and having a series of one-piece walls, said series comprising a front wall, a rear wall, opposite side walls, a top wall and a bottom wall, said side walls, top wall and bottom wall being foldably joined together at their respective ends, and being foldably joined at their sides to said front wall and said rear wall respectively, a continuous fold line extending completely around said container in said top, bottom and side walls and lying in a single plane, there being also fold lines in the opposed pair of said last mentioned walls, said last mentioned fold lines extending from the edges of the walls of said opposed pair diagonally to the said continuous fold line, said top, bottom and side walls being biased to fold inwardly for the collapse of said container with said front wall and said rear wall approaching each other in general parallelism, said container being normally in collapsed condition when empty, said container being biased to remain in said collapsed condition until expanded, said container being free-standing and self-sustaining when expanded, said container being freestanding and self-sustaining when in said collapsed condition when resting on a surface perpendicular to said plane.

4. The structure claimed in claim 2 including carrying means for said container in filled condition, said carrying means comprising a flexible continuous closed strap having an inside dimension slightly greater than the peripheral dimensions of said front wall, said strap adapted to be placed about said container and to lie along said continulous fold line and against said bottom and said side wal s.

5. The structure claimed in claim 1 wherein said container in said expanded form is cylindrical in conformation, having a top wall and a bottom wall and a pair of semi-cylindrical walls foldably joined together along said continuous fold line, the top wall and the bottom wall and the bottom wall constituting said pair of opposed walls, said other fold lines in said top and bottom walls being so arranged as to provide for contraction and expansion of said centrally disposed fold lines therein.

6. The structure claimed in claim 1 wherein at least one of said walls other than a wall of said pair is provided with at least one recess to diminish the internal volumn when the container is in collapsed condition.

7. The structure claimed in claim 1 wherein said container is a structure molded of said resilient material.

8. The structure claimed in claim 7 wherein said resilient, moldable material is chosen from a class consisting of polyethylene, styrene, saran and tetra fluoroethylene polymer.

9. The structure claimed in claim 7 wherein said container is molded as a unitary structure.

10. The structure claimed in claim 2 wherein a plurality of embossed ribs are located on at least one of said front and rear Walls, said ribs lying parallel to said bottom wall and extending substantially the full width of said at least one rib bearing wall.

11. The structure claimed in claim 7 wherein an in-. tegral spout is provided on said container at the fold line between two of said walls, said spout having an open end, said spout having a flat, oval cross sectional configuration.

12. The structure claimed in claim 11 wherein said open end of said spout is adapted to be heat sealed.

13. The structure claimed in claim 11 including closure means for said open end of said spout, said closure means comprising a clamp.

14. The structure claimed in claim 11 including closure means for said open end of said spout, said closure means comprising a plug having a tapered shank, said tapered shank adapted to be inserted in said open end and frictionally held therein, said plug having a perforation extending therethrough, one end of said perforation opening into said spout, a tube connection provided at the other end of said perforation.

15. The structure claimed in claim 11 including removable cap means for said open end of said spout, said cap means comprising an elongated member having a longitudinally extending groove, said open end adapted to be closed by and frictionally engaged within said groove.

16. The structure claimed in claim 11 wherein strips of elastorner are an" red to the inside surfaces of said container and spout at said fold line whereby said spout is sealed at said fold line when thereat toward one of said two walls.

17. The structure claimed in claim 12 including a hypodermic needle heat sealed to said spout.

18. The structure claimed in claim 11 wherein a plurality of ribs are molded in at least one of said walls, said ribs lying parallel to said bottom wall, said spout being foldable at said fold line downwardly against the upper portion of said wall, said ribs on said upper portion of said wall extending inwardly from the edges of said wall and terminating in opposing undercut coaxial end portions, said undercut end portions being spaced from each other by a distance substantially equal to the width of said spout, said undercut portions adapted to hold the edges of said spout in snap-in engagement and releasably retain said spout in folded position.

19. The structure claimed in claim 15 wherein said spout is foldable at said fold line downwardly against the upper portion of said wall, two spaced bulged bosses on said upper portion of said wall, said bosses having opposing undercut edge portions, said undercut edge portions being spaced from each other by a distance substantially equal to the length of said cap means, said undercut edge portions adapted to receive the ends of said cap means in snap-in engagement whereby said spout is releasably retained in said folded condition.

20. The structure claimed in claim 2 including a plurality of said diagonally extending lines on each of said walls of said opposed pair.

21. The structure claimed in claim 2 wherein said container has a front wall, a rear wall, two side walls and a bottom wall, said side walls being triangular in outline, and said front wall and rear wall being foldably joined together at their top edges.

22. The structure claimed in claim 21 including a hollow pouring spout at said last mentioned fold line.

23. The structure claimed in claim 3 wherein said container comprises a first and a second molded portion, said first portion comprising said front, said bottom and one of said side walls, said second portion comprising said top, said rear and the other of said side walls, said portions having mating edges adapted to be sealed to gether.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 277,494 5/ 1883 Lindsay 224-28 1,377,113 5/1921 Boyle. 1,623,107 4/1927 Goodykoontz 222-107 1,854,458 4/1932 De Quincy et al 222-215 2,052,344 8/1936 Edelmann 222-530 X 2,086,642 7/ 1937 'Rosenthal 222-530 X 2,359,297 10/1944 Brogden 224-49 X 2,361,877 10/1944 Schell 229-17 X 2,428,261 9/1947 Bogoslowsky 222-107 2,753,088 7/1956 Prahl 222-215 2,907,491 10/1959 Gunn -.5 X 3,082,927 3/1963 Winstead 229-14 3,087,491 4/1963 Gewecke et al 128-272 3,108,730 10/1963 Reinsberg 229-7 3,172,577 3/1965 Hartung 222-206 3,181,743 5/1965 Libit et al 222-530 X 3,195,272 7/1965 Mosher et a1. 150-.5 X 3,224,640 12/ 1965 Schneider et a] 222-107 FOREIGN PATENTS 1,090,700 10/1954 France.

344 1/ 1915 Great Britain. 929,630 6/1963 Great Britain. 798,338 7/1958 Great Britain.

JOSEPH R. LECLAIR, Primary Examiner.

FRANKLIN T. GARRETT, Examiner.

M. L. MINSK, Assistant Examiner.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification383/104, 383/36, 383/119, 222/107, 383/89, 383/61.1, 383/95, 222/215, 383/43, 383/105, 383/907, 383/120, 604/408, 383/906, 229/117.1, 222/530, 383/59
International ClassificationB65D37/00
Cooperative ClassificationY10S383/907, B65D37/00, Y10S383/906
European ClassificationB65D37/00