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Publication numberUS3387699 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 11, 1968
Filing dateMar 10, 1966
Priority dateMar 10, 1966
Publication numberUS 3387699 A, US 3387699A, US-A-3387699, US3387699 A, US3387699A
InventorsHeller Joel
Original AssigneePackaging Components Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Dispensing containers
US 3387699 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

June 11, 1968 J. HELLER 3,387,699


United States Patent 3,387,699 DISPENSENG CONTAINERS Joel Heller, New York, N.Y., assignor to Packaging Components, Ina, Roslyn Heights, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed Mar. 10, 1966, Ser. No. 533,207 9 Qlaims. (Cl. 206-42) ABSTRACT 0F THE DISCLGSURE A dispensing container for tablet like articles in which the container is formed with an apertured body member of compressible material sandwiched between a base sheet of frangible material and a top cover sheet of pliable material such that the contents of the apertured body may be ejected by manual pressure without damage to fingernails or the contents and without requiring the use of tools.

Background of the invention This invention relates to the art of dispensing containers, more particularly to a combined shipping, storage and dispensing container for packaging, transporting and dispensing tablets, pills or other objects having formed shapes.

A variety of situations exist in which relatively small fragile articles must be packaged for shipment in a fashion preventing contact between the articles and permitting removal of individual articles Without disturbing other articles in the package. Thus medicinal tablets, pills, capsules, and the like must be so packaged, for distribution by mail or through general sales outlets such as drug stores.

The annual shipment of pills by mail in dispensers, from drug manufacturers to doctors, runs into the millions, and it is essential that, despite the relatively rough handling to which they are subjected in shipment, they reach their destination in undamaged and uncontaminated condition. To this end the drug manufacturer or packager must so package the pills for shipment, that in transit, despite rough handling, upon receipt they remain in their individual sealed compartments, undamaged and ready to be dispensed for usage.

In pill dispensers now being used for distribution by mail, protection of the individual pills is to some extent achieved by employing a blister package which comprises a sheet of plastic laminated to a backing of cardboard or the like, and is provided with a series of spaced bubbles or blisters Within which separate pills are contained. The

problem with these conventional blister packages is that in breaking the blister to get out the pill, the pill is often shattered, as are adjacent pills, which are crushed due to manipulation of the package to break the blister. Further problems arise due to the difliculty of tearing the blister often resulting is broken fingernails. Additionally the blister package is generally enclosed in a shipping carton from which it has to be removed prior to removing a pill. This separable carton generally contains informative information as to the time sequence for taking the pills, the brand name, and certain ingredients. The possibility is always present when the dispenser and carton must first be separated that the carton will be mislaid or lost by the user. This is quite hazardous since the user in "ice hope of remembering the purpose of the pills will store the dispenser without the carton for future use and considering the volume of different pills in use today this is a dangerous practice.

Summary of the invention It is with the above problems in mind, that the present improved dispensing container has been evolved, a container permitting a plurality of pills or the like to be individually enclosed in a protected condition, and adapted for ready removal without disturbing adjacent pills in the package.

It is accordingly among the primary objects of this invention to provide an improved dispensing container for protectively maintaining a plurality of separate articles in a protected condition, which articles may be selectively dispensed without disturbing adjacent articles in the package.

Another object of the invention is to provide a dispensing container from which the contained articles may be selectively removed without endangering the fingers of the user.

A further object of the invention is to provide a dispensing container adapted for mailing.

Another object is to provide a dispensing container in which desired instructional material may be kept intact with the container.

A further important object of the invention is to provide a dispensing container construction permitting inexpensive automatic packaging.

These and other objects of the invention which will become hereafter apparent are achieved by forming a dispensing container body with a plurality of spaced openings dimensioned to accommodate the articles to be packaged. The body is of a thickness equal to the height of the packaged articles and is preferably fabricated from a relatively rigid sheet material that is capable of absorbing shock and is sufficiently compressible to aid in the ejectment of the tablets from within the aperture. Thermoplastic materials such as styrofoam have been found ideally suited for the body of the dispenser. Secured to the lower face of the body is a base layer of a rupturable material, such as aluminum foil or tin foil, which ruptures upon the application thereto of a minimal force. The cover or upper layer is made of 21 preferably thermoplastic material having properties which permit it to stretch a suflicient amount with the application thereto of force from the thumb or finger of the user. Due to the thermoplastic nature of the body the base and cover layers of material may be bonded to the base by heat sealing, dielectric heating, or ultrasonic sealing, to form a dispenser consisting of a plurality of chambers each containing one or more articles such as pills, and each chamber moisture proof to protect the contents therein. The dispensing container may be used by itself or in combination with a housing adapted to receive the dispensing container. The housing has four inter-connected walls arranged to form a rectangular sleeve relatively snugly encompassing the dispensing container. The sleeve is provided with a plurality of spaced cutouts or apertures on the respective parallel spaced upper and lower walls aligned with the container body opening which act as shear frames as will become hereafter apparent. The cutouts, generally of circular cross section, are in vertical axial alignment with respective complementary cutouts on 3 the opposite wall. To fully enclose the four walls of the sleeve a foldable overlapping cover hinged along the edges of the walls, having a rear panel, top panel, front panel and bottom panel with folded edges defined by folding scores that are substantially co-extensive with the wall edges and one of said panels overlies a respective wall of said sleeve when the carton is in its closed or collapsed position. In this latter position the cutouts are protected by the foldover cover which may be of a layer cardboard and a unitary mailing package is obtained that may contain all of the descriptive information printed thereon.

The diameter of the cutouts in the housing, particularly those in the upper sleeve wall, are dimensioned to accept a portion of any finger of the user without permitting its complete passage therethrough. By snugly sandwiching the dispensing container between the shear frames formed by the upper and lower sleeve walls and providing a relatively sharp edge along the cutouts, the continual pressure applied by the finger of the user will stretch or elongate the cover in the area of the housing aperture into a concave form. By this incremental displacement of the cover layer over the aperture a force is applied to the article within the chamber, which force is applied therethrough and against the base layer until the latter rupture permitting the article such as a tablet or pill to be removed therefrom.

An important feature of the invention resides in the formation of the shear frames on the sleeve, the cutouts of which form a finger engaging abutment on the sleeve of the carton, which are dimensioned for ready positioning of the finger of the user thereagainst, so that ejectment of the tablet from within the chamber or compartment is accomplished without the fingernail of the user digging into the tablet.

Another feature of the invention resides in the provision of means for isolating the stress concentration within the vicinity of the cutouts, by employing the annular surface of the shear frame to act as a bearing means to pinch the base layer, housing and cover layer together to prevent upsetting the sealing or bonding joint therebetween in the adjoining compartments.

Brief description of the drawing The specific details of a preferred embodiment of the invention, and their mode of functioning will be particularly pointed out in clear, concise, and exact terms n conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view, partially in section, illustrating a combined dispensing container constructed in accordance with the present invention, and shown with the housing cover in an open position;

FIG. 2 is an end view looking from the right side of FIG. 1, partially in section, with the cover in its closed position;

FIG. 3 is an end view similar to FIG. 2, illustrating the construction of the dispensing container without the housing;

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 2, but with the cover in its open position illustrating the removal of a tablet from the dispenser by finger pressure;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary cross-section of the removal process of FIG. 4 in the substantially completed stage of operation;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary cross-section of the removal process of a tablet from the dispensing container of FIG. 3.

Description of the preferred embodiment Refer-ring now more particularly to the drawings, like numerals in the various figures will be employed to designate like parts.

As best seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the unitary package 10 is seen to comprise two major cooperating parts in which the housing is generally designated by the numeral 12 and the container associated therewith by the numeral 15. Housing 12 is formed of a relatively rigid sheet material such as paperboard, plastic or the like and has a sleeve portion 13 with a foldable overlapping cover 14 hinged along one edge of the sleeve. The sleeve 13 and cover 14 may be formed integral with each other from one piece of rectangular paperboard having parallel horizontal folded edges defined by folding scores to permit the housing 12 to be assembled into the open configuration as seen in FIG. 1 and the closed position as seen in FIG. 2, in the alternative the sleeve and cover may be of a molded plastic and hingedly secured along a common edge. The sleeve 13 consists of two pairs of interconnected parallel spaced shear frames or walls, horizontal top shear frame 16 and lower shear frame 18 connected to vertical front Wall 20 and rear wall 22. The spacing between the four walls defines an opening 23 (FIG. 1) which is dimensioned to relatively snugly en compass and embrace the container positioned therein.

To substantially enclose the sleeve 13 during shipment or storage the cover 14 may be folded from its open position as seen in FIG. 1 into its closed or overlapping position as seen in FIG. 2. The cover 14 consists of four inter-connected panels which are complementary to the four Walls of the sleeve 13. The rear panel 24 hingedly secured to the carton 12 is interfolded with the rear wall 22 of the sleeve and may be joined thereto in any conventional manner, as for example by an adhesive to lend rigidity to the sleeve 13. In turn the rear panel 24 is hingedly secured to the top panel 26 which is hingedly secured to the front panel 29 and in turn the front panel 29 is secured to the bottom panel 27, as by folding scores.

As will become more apparent from the description to follow, the top and bottom walls 18 and respectively which act as shear frames play an important role in the manner in which the tablets are removed from the dispenser and to this end are provided with a plurality of cutout or apertures 30, generally of circular cross-section, having vertical annular walls 31 (FIG. 2). The cutouts may be positioned in any geometric pattern and in the embodiment here illustrated, a series of three horizonally spaced rows each containing four cutouts, equidistantly spaced with respect to each other, for a total of twelve is shown. For every cutout 30 on the top shear frame 16 there is a corresponding one in substantial vertical alignment on the bottom shear frame 18.

The container 15 which is removably inserted within the sleeve 13 of the housing 12 and as seen in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 includes a plurality of individual compartments 39 for the storage of one or more tablets, pills or other items 11 therein. The container comprises a body 40 having a plurality of apertures 42, generally of a circular crosssection which may be slightly larger in diameter than the pill or other article positioned therein, and is fabricated from a relatively rigid material that is capable of absorbing shock and vibration and is sufficiently compressible to aid in the ejectment of the table 11 from Within the compartment 39. Styrofoam has been found ideally suited for its bonding and shock absorbing characteristics.

It is preferred to employ an expandable polystyrene head such as Dow Chemical Companys Pelaspan 18, 127, or 222 which may be readily molded to desired contour. In molding, the molded product should be formed with a relatively water tight skin by utilizing smooth walled molds insuring a continuity of wall surface; and coating the exposed surface with a heat seal lacquer.

The geometric spacing of the apertures 42 is correlated to coincide with the cutouts 30 in the sleeve 13 when the container is inserted within the opening 23 thereof. To fully enclose the tablets 1 1 within the body 40 and to form the compartments 39, a frangible base 43 of a material, such as aluminum foil which would rupture, is secured to one side of the body 40 covering the aperture 42 as a diaphragm. Cover 45 is secured to the opposite side of the body. The cover 45 is preferably of a material having properties which permit the cover to stretch a sufiicient amount during an application of the force thereto in the area of the body opening 42, such as vinyl plastic. The cover, body and base are joined together in any conventional manner as for example by heat sealing, dielectric heating, or high frequency mechanical vibrations, to form a dispenser containing a plurality of compartments each containing one or more tablets with each compartment individually sealed to protect its contents.

It is preferred to employ a heat scalable thermoplastic in forming the cover 45. Materials such as polyvinylchloride, polyethylene terephthalate and polyacrylonitrile. Films of the above materials adapted for heat sealing at a temperature of between 200 and 250 degrees F. at a pressure of 50 pounds are desired.

Operation The aforedescribed unitary package may be employed wherein the housing 12 and container 15 are used in combination with each other or in the alternative the container 15 may be removed from its housing and used separately.

When used in combination the cover 14 is unfolded to the position as seen in FIGS. 1 and 4 so that the tablets are visually exposed and a thumb or other finger 50 may be placed in the position seen in FIG. 4 for dispensing the contents of the compartment 39. The diameter of the cutout 39 in the shear frame 16 is important and should be of a diameter that would support the finger of the user at one point and preferably two points on the rim of the vertical wall 31 which meets with the upper surface of the shear frame 16. With the fin er in this position the rim acts as a rest or support and only permits a portion of the finger to extend through the cutout 30 for engagement with the pliable cover 45. The cover 45 is made of a material capable of stretching a sufii-cient amount, which when calibrated with the thickness of the tablet 11, will cause a rupture of the base 43 with the cover remaining generally intact. By providing a shear frame which acts as a finger support along with the pliable cover, a sudden breakthrough into the chamber is avoided and the possibility of stubbing and injuring the finger of the use-r is minimized. As seen in FIG. 5 the finger 50, or if desired some other force applying member, is forced downwardly to etfect an engagement between the tablet 11 and the base 43 until this continued downwardly directed movement acts to force the base outwardly until it ruptures. The rupture is limited to the area of the cutout 30 since the wall 31 of lower shear frame 18 acts to restrain and limit the circumference thereof.

A critical aspect of a dispenser is its ability to maintain the bond or seal between the individual filled compartments at all times. The shear means in the form of the upper and lower frames act to simultaneously retain this bond since as the pressure is applied the rim of the cutouts 30 grip and compresses the container 15 in surrounding relation to the apertures 42 to create an annular compressed area to isolate the rupturable cover and base Within the area of a single compartment. Diameter of the cutouts 39 may slightly exceed the apertures 42 and in one commercial package the cutouts are /2 inc-h and the apertures are inch in diameter.

This compressive force simultaneously localizes the stress forces set up in the base and cover to prevent them from spreading through the container and breaking the seal between the cover and base wit-h the body sec-tion 40 and guarantees the retainment of the rupture of either the base or cover within an isolaed area of a single cutout 30 on the shear frames 18 and 16.

Thus, at least three purposes are served by the shear frames -16 and 18, and associated cutouts 30. First they continually compress in a sandwich fashion the container 15 positioned therebe-tween. The rim of the cutouts on the upper shear frame 16 may be used for ready positioning of the finger and as a rest so that the user may control the vertical downward movement as seen in FIG. 5 so that a steady ejectment of the tablet may be obtained. Additionally the shear frames isolate the stress con centration within the vicinity of the cutouts 30 to prevent upsetting the seal in the vicinity of the other comparments.

If desired the tip of the finger 50 of the user may be employed to apply the force to the cover 45 without using the rim of the cutout 30 as a finger rest. In this manner the shear frames still perform their function of sandwiching the container to localize the stress concentration. It the rim is not used as a rest it has been found that generally the cover 45 is ruptured by the completion of the ejectment process.

FIG. 6 illustrates the use of the dispensing container 15 without employment of the housing to eject the tablets 11 contained therein. The finger engages the upper surface of the cover 45 and with a downwardly directed force against the tablet 11 both the cover 45 and base 43 may be ruptured. The utilization of a deformable body 40 aids in the dispensing operation by permitting continual pressure to be applied since the body wall 44 is compressible.

The above disclosure has been given by way of illustration and elucidation, and not by Way of limitation, and it is desired to protect all embodiments of the herein disclosed inventive concept within the scope of the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. A dispenser container package having an article container comprising:

(A) a fiat body of an easily compressible thermoplastic material having a plurality of apertures extending between opposite surfaces thereof and in spaced relation to each other and adapted to receive an article to be packaged therein,

(B) a fiat base of frangible sheet material secured to said body along a surface thereof to enclose one end of said apertures, and

(C) a flat cover of a pliable thermoplastic sheet material secured to said body along the opposite surface thereof to enclose the opposite end of said apertures to form individual compartments, whereby an article contained in one of said compartments may be 'dispensed by applying gradual finger pressure to said cover above one of said apertures causing it to deflect and force the tablet against the base with a resultant rupture thereof.

2. A package as in claim 1 including a housing adapted in a closed position to enclose said container and in an open position to provide access to the individual compartments therein for the dispensing of the articles therefrom, said housing including (A) a sleeve comprised of a pair of shear frames and a pair of interconnected walls to form an opening for relatively snugly encompassing said container sitioned therein,

(B) said shear frames being provided respectively with a plurality of aligned cutouts, said aligned cutouts being in substantial alignment with the compartments of said container.

3. A package as in claim 2 in which a cover is hingeably joined to said sleeve and adapted to fold over from an open to a closed position, in said latter position the cover substantially overlying the sleeve of said carton.

4. A package as defined in claim 3; wherein said cover is comprised of panels hingeably joined to each other and said panels are substantially co-extensive with a respective wall and shear frame of said sleeve.

5. A package as defined in claim 2; wherein the apertures in said body have a circular cross-section, and wherein the cutouts in said shear frames have a circular cross-section.

6. A package as defined in claim 5; wherein the diameter of the shear frame cutouts exceed the diameter of the body apertures.

7. A package as defined in claim 2; wherein the cutouts in one of said shear frames is dimensioned to support the finger of the user, whereby said cutouts act as finger rests to permit the application of a gradual continual pressure to said cover to force the article against the base with a resultant rupture thereof.

' 8. A package as defined in claim 1; wherein the cover of said container is of sheet material having an elastic limit higher than the rupturing limit of said base whereby the base will rupture and permit access to the tablet within the compartment prior to the rupture of said cover. 9. A package as defined in claim 2; wherein the frames UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,415,859 2/ 1947 Ancker 20642 2,682,138 6/1954 Sax 20642 3,178,014 4/1965 Goldwasser 2060.83 3,310,164 3/1967 Reddall 206--42 JOSEPH R. LECLAIR, Primary Examiner. WILLIAM T. DIXSON, JR., Examiner.

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U.S. Classification206/531, 206/539
International ClassificationB65D83/04
Cooperative ClassificationB65D83/0445
European ClassificationB65D83/04C