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Publication numberUS3390766 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 2, 1968
Filing dateMar 9, 1967
Priority dateMar 9, 1967
Also published asDE1611940B1
Publication numberUS 3390766 A, US 3390766A, US-A-3390766, US3390766 A, US3390766A
InventorsWilliam D Stockdale
Original AssigneeIllinois Tool Works
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Multi-packaging device
US 3390766 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

2, 1968 w. D. STOCKDALE 3,

MULTI -PACKAGING DEVICE Filed March 9, 1967 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR. William 0 S/oc/rda/e His A):

July 2, 1968 w. D.-$TOCKDALE MULTI-PACKAGING DEVICE 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed March 9, 1967 y IIII///I//////////// INVENTOR. William 0. .Sfac/rda/e United States Patent O 3,390,766 MULTI-PACKAGING DEVICE William D. Stockdale, Arlington Heights, 111., assignor to Illinois Tool Works Inc., Chicago, 11]., a corporation of Delaware Filed Mar. 9, 1967, Ser. No. 621,864 7 Claims. (Cl. 20665) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A package for storing and transporting individual container units having a tray section which receives and supports the container units and/or a cover section for assembly thereto in a separable manner which protects the top of the container units until the cover section and tray section are separated from each other.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION (1) Field of the invention The present invention relates to the packaging of a plurality of individual single service container unit-s, commonly referred to as portion packages, in such a manner that the container units can be stored and transported in a tray and/or cover section which is highly protective relative to the container units from the standpoint of damage or inadvertent removal relative to the tray and/ or cover section, and yet does not interfere or otherwise make difiicult the removal of the individual container units from the tray and/or cover section. In removing individual container units from the tray section, it is important that the individual container units are not unnecessarily exposed to contamination, particularly where dairy products are involved. While the tray section may be used independently of the cover section, they are designed, when used together, to be separably united to each other by integral fastening means associated with one or both of the sections.

(2) Description of the prior art There are a number of prior art references which show various types of portion packaging techniques; however, none of them have provided a tray section and/or cover section which serves to protect the containers and prevent their inadvertent removal while carried or when resting on a supporting surface, and at the same time permitting removability of the container units from the tray section when desired. A's typical examples of prior art techniques in this regard, reference is made to US. Patent Nos. 1,812,311, 2,784,539 and 3,054,679, each of which show various forms of tray sections for use with individual container units.

Retention of the cover section to the tray section while affording easy separation of these two parts is another aspect which has been dealt with generally by the prior art, US. Patent No. 2,970,735 being typical in this regard. The prior art has not, however, taught the use of effective, yet easily separable integral locking means in a tray and cover section package, and this is another aspect with which the present invention is concerned.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved tray section for storing and transporting individual container units in such a manner that the container units may be easily removed from the tray section when desired while at the same time preventing inadvertent removal of the containers from the tray section.

Another object of the present invention is the provision of a cover section for the tray section which protects 3,39%,756 Patented July 2, 1968 the tops of the container units while retained within the tray section.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a tray and/0r cover section for the multi-packaging individual container units, one or both of the tray and cover sections including complementary fastening means which retains the parts against inadvertent disassembly while also facilitating the separability of the tray and cover section from each other.

These and other objects and advantages of the present invention are attained by the provision of a package which stores and transports individual container units including a tray section and/or cover section, the tray section having a top wall which is adapted to receive and mount a plurality of container units with respect thereto and a plurality of side walls depending therefrom, at least some of the side walls of the tray section having an axial height smaller than the container units, but of sufficient dimension to support the top wall of the tray section a predetermined distance above a supporting surface when the container units are resting thereupon to prevent accidental lateral dislodgement of the container units from the tray section while facilitating manual removal of the container units therefrom. When the package is provided with a cover section, the tray section is configured to provide at least two opposing side walls which have an axial height smaller than other side Walls of the tray section which supports the top wall thereof a predetermined distance above a supporting surface, and the cover section includes depending sides at least two of which are capable of being aligned with the smaller side walls of the tray section such that one or both of the tray and/ or cover section are provided with complementary locking means which are associated with the smaller side walls of the tray section to permit retention of the cover section to the tray section while facilitating separation of the tray and cover sections from each other when the tray section is resting upon a supporting surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view showing the tray and cover section package having a plurality of container units associated therewith, and being constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 2 i s an exploded perspective view showing the tray and cover section vertically separated from each other and with one of the container units removed from the tray section;

FIG. 3 is a side elevational view showing the manner in which the tray section rests upon a supporting surface so as to prevent accidental lateral dislodgernent of the individual container units from the tray section;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary top plan view of the tray section showing the manner in which the plurality of container units are mounted or associated therewith;

FIG. 5 is an end elevational view of the package shown in FIG. 1, and particularly showing the manner in which the integral fastening means of the illustrated embodirnent functions to hold the tray and cover sections to each other; and

FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of the package shown in FIG. 5 as viewed along lines 66 thereof which depicts the locking technique employed with the fastening means of the illustrated embodiment.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The package 10 of the present invention generally comprises a tray section 12 which is adapted to receive and mount a plurality of individual container units 14 therein, and a cover section 16 which is adapted to be separably united to the tray section 12 as will be more fully described hereinafter. Preferably, the tray and cover section .12, 16 respectively are made from paperboard or cardboard blanks and are scored, bent and adhered to various portions thereof as will be understood from the description that is to follow.

Each of the individual container units 14 may comprise a thin wall thermoplastic container body 18 with a flexible lid element 20 secured thereto. As shown in the drawings, each container body 18 generally has an octagonal configuration with each of the sides of the octagon extending upwardly and outwardly from a planar bottom wall, the upper end of the container body terminating in an octagonally configured, radially outwardly directed flange portion to which the film element of membrane 20 is heat sealed. A detailed description of this preferred type of container unit 14 is set forth in my copend'ing application, Ser. No. 681,625, filed Nov. 9, 1967. It will be understood, however, that insofar as the present invention is concerned, each of the container units may be made from any material, configured of any shape and made from one or more parts as may be desired. The invention will be described specifically in connection with the container units 14 illustrated in the drawings, it being recognized that other types of containers may be used to fit the particular purpose desired.

The tray section 12, as best seen in the exploded FIG. 2 view, has a generally rectangular shape including a top wall 22 and opposed pairs of side walls 24, 26 respectively depending therefrom. The top wall 22 includes a plurality of adjacently positioned apertures or openings 28 which are generally configured to the exterior shape of the container units 14. In the illustrated embodiment, the container units 14 generally have an octagonal configuration, and thus the apertures 28 also assume an octagonal shape. Whatever the shape of the openings or apertures 28, it is preferable that the peripheral or circumferential extent thereof be slightly larger than the exterior configuration of the container units adapted to be mounted therein so that the container units can be freely and easily positioned within and removed from the opening 28. There must be, however, some means for supporting the individual container units 14 relative to the top wall 22 of the tray section, and this can be easily accomplished by assuring that some portion of the container unit has a transverse measurement greater than the largest transverse dimension of the aperture with which it is to be associated. In the illustrated embodiment, the radially outwardly directed octagonally shaped rim portion of the container body 18 is designed to provide a greater transverse measurement than that of the aperture 28 with which it is to be associated to permit the marginal portions of the top wall 22 surrounding a particular aperture 28 to support a container unit 14 in a stable position. In this manner, a plurality of container units 14- can be positioned within aperture 28 formed in the top wall 22 of the tray section 12 to facilitate handling thereof. The number of apertures or openings 28 formed in the top wall 22 of the tray section 12 for receiving corresponding numbers of container units 14 may be varied to suit the requirements of a particular customer.

While the polygonally shaped tray section 12 may be provided with any number of depending side walls, it is preferably arranged to include at least two opposing pairs of side walls such as the side walls 24 and 26- respectively. It will be noted that the pair of opposing side walls 24 are substantially longer than the opposing pair of side walls 26, but are smaller than the axial height of the container units when resting upon a supporting surface as shown in FIGS. 23 of the drawings. Specifically, the opposing pair of side walls 24, while having an axial height smaller than the container units 14, are of sufficient dimension to support the top wall 22 of the tray section 12 a predetermined distance above a supporting surface when the container units are resting thereupon to prevent accidental lateral dislodgement of the container units from the tray section while at the same time facilitating manual removal of the containers therefrom by permitting a user to easily grasp the top portion of each of the container units. This is clearly illustrated in FIG. 3 of the drawings wherein the outwardly directed rim portion as well as a part of the upper portion of the container body 18 is positioned above the top wall 22 of the tray section 12 when the bottom wall of each of the container units are resting upon a supporting surface as illustrated.

When the container units 14 are positioned within the tray section 12, they will be arranged in the manner illustrated in FIG. 4 of the drawings. Specifically, it will be noted that the thin and flexible film or membrane element 20 has portions thereof which extend beyond the rim portion of the container body 18. In the illustrated embodiment the film element or membrane 20 has a square shape wherein the maximum distance or dimension between two opposed sides thereof are generally equal to the maximum dimension between two opposed.

sides of the octagonally shaped rim portion such that when the film element or membrane 20 is attached to the container body 18 in the manner shown in FIG. 4 of the drawings, there will be four portions which project beyond the outer confines of the container rim portion. It will also be noted that the arrangement of the projecting film element or membrane portions are such that they are arranged in generally opposed pairs, and this will permit a user to engage and deflect generally opposed portions of the film element or membrane 20 in removing the individual container units '14 from the tray section 12 without contaminating any of the pouring surfaces of the container units. Thus, in addition to supporting the containers in a fixed position on a supporting surface while permitting easy removal thereof when desired, the container units are designed to permit removal thereof without in any way contaminating the pouring surfaces of the container units.

While there may be instances which require the use of a tray section 12 only, it is preferable to employ a cover section 16 of the type illustrated in the drawings to provide maximum protection for the container units during normal storing and handling operations. The container units 14 when received within the apertures 28 of the tray section 12 will be held against downward and lateral movement, but there is nothing to restrain the container from upward movement relative to the top' wall 22 of the tray section 12.

The section 16 is complementary in shape to the tray section 12 and includes a covering wall 30 which overlies the top wall 22 of the tray section to protect the top of the container units 14 mounted therein as well as depending sides which are also in the form of opposed pairs of sides 32, 34 respectively as is the case with the depending side walls 24, 26 respectively of the tray section 12. The cover section 16 is arranged relative to the tray section 12 such that the opposing sides 34 of the cover section are capable of being aligned with the smaller side walls of the tray section when the tray section and cover section are assembled to each other. Each of the sides 34 are provided with integral locking means 36 which are engageable with the smaller side walls 26 of the tray section 12 to permit the tray and cover sections 12, 16 to be releasably or separably united to one another.

Each of the integral locking means 36 associated with one of the sides 34 comprises, as best seen in FIGS. 1-2

and 56, a pair of deflectable tab elements 38, 38 arranged in side-by-side relationship to one another. Each of the defiectable tab elements 38 includes a cam surface or portion 40 at the uppermost extremity thereof which is capable of being moved to a locking position beneath the smaller side wall 26 of the tray section 12 with which it is to be associated.

This arrangement of parts is best illustrated in FIGS. 5-6 of the drawings wherein the cam portion 40 of the deflectable tab elements 38 are shown as being positioned in locking engagement with the smaller side walls 26 of the tray section 12. The cam portion 40 of each deflectable tab element 38 engages the smaller side wall 26 with which it is associated in such a manner that a covering wall 16 is positioned in close fitting relationship relative to the rim portion of each container unit 14 and the film element or membrane 20gsecured thereto to afford protection to the thin and flexible elements or membranes 20 during normal storage and handling conditions.

It will be understood that while the illustrated embodiment shows a pair of deflectable tab elements for each of the depending sides 34, it is possible to utilize only one of such deflectable tab elements 38 in separably or releasably uniting the cover section 16 to the tray section 12. Furthermore, it will be understood that the shape and size of each deflectable tab element 38 may be varied to suit the particulars desired.

Removal of the cover section 16 from the tray section 12 may be easily effected While the tray section 12 is either resting upon a supporting surface or inclined slightly from a supporting surface. It will be seen that since the longer side walls 24 of a tray section 12 support the top wall 22 thereof a predetermined distance above a supporting surface, it is a relatively simple matter to engage and move the deflectable tab elements from the cover section 16 out of locking engagement with the smaller side walls 26 of the tray section. Thus, removal of the cover section 16 from its corresponding tray section 12 may be easily achieved while the tray section is resting on a supporting surface either in a horizontal or in a slightly inclined position.

From the foregoing, it will now be appreciated that the present invention contemplates a package for storing and transporting individual container units which may include a tray section by itself or a tray and cover section combination. Both the tray and cover section are easily formed from one-piece cardboard or paperboard blanks and are capable of assuming the shapes illustrated in the drawings through the use of scoring techniques for delineating sides and side wall portions from the top portions as well as adhesive or fastening techniques to secure the corner portions of the cover section in the desired arrangement. Both the covering wall of the cover section as well as the film or membrane elements associated with the container units in the illustrated embodiment may be imprinted with suitable indicia to identify the manufacturer and the type of product contained within the individual container units.

The specific embodiments of the invention as herein shown and described are to be understood as being illustrative only. Various changes in structure will no doubt occur to those skilled in the art and Will be understood as forming a part of this invention insofar as they fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

I claim:

1. A package for storing and transporting individual container units comprising a tray section for receiving and supporting said container units, said tray section having a polygonal shape and including a top wall and side walls depending therefrom, said top wall being provided with a plurality of adjacently positioned apertures for accepting a corresponding number of container units each having a rim portion adjacent an open upper end thereof, at least a part of the rim portion of each container having a transverse measurement greater than the largest transverse dimension of the aperture with which it is to be associated and adjacent apertures being spaced from each other by a distance which is suflicient to position the rim portions of adjacent containers in close nonengaged relationship with each other, each rim portion being configured to permit easy grasping thereof by a user in removing individual container units from said tray section and including a thin and flexible lid element for each container unit secured to the rim portion of each container to protect its contents, at least two generally opposed portions of each thin and flexible lid element extending beyond its corresponding container rim portion a sufficient distance to permit engagement and deflection thereof below said rim portion by a user in removing container units from said tray section to protect the pouring surfaces of said rim portion from contamination, and the side walls of said tray section at least when resting upon a supporting surface having an axial height smaller than said container units, to support the top wall of said tray section a predetermined distance above the supporting surface when the container units are resting thereupon to prevent accidental lateral dislodgement of said container units from said tray section while facilitating manual removal of said container units therefrom.

2. The package as defined in claim 1 wherein at least two opposing side walls of said tray section have an axial height smaller than other side walls which support the top wall of said tray section a predetermined distance above a supporting surface, and a cover section for overlying the top wall of said tray section, said cover section having at least two depending sides each capable of being aligned with one of the smaller side walls of said tray section when said tray section and cover section are assembled to each other, the side walls of said tray section and sides of said cover section aligned with each other including integral locking means for retaining said cover section to said tray section against inadvertent removal while permitting easy separability of said tray section and cover section from each other.

3. The package as defined in claim 2 wherein in each integral locking means includes at least one locking tab element which is capable of being moved to a locking position beneath one of the smaller sides of said tray section.

4. The package as defined in claim 1 wherein each thin and flexible lid element extends beyond its associated container at a plurality of locations which are arranged in quadrature relationship to provide a plurality of pairs of generally opposed portions which permit engagement and deflection of said generally opposed portions below the rim portion of the associated container by a user in removing container units from said tray sections.

5. The package as defined in claim 1 including at least four container units positioned in corresponding apertures of the tray section, the rim portion of each container unit being provided with a configuration enabling each group of four adjacently positioned container units to provide therebetween an opening suflicient to insert a users finger for engaging and removing said container units from said tray section.

6. The package as defined in claim 5 wherein the rim portion of each container unit is of octagonal configuration.

7. A package for storing and transporting individual container units comprising a tray section for receiving and supporting said container units, said tray section having a polygonal shape and including a top wall and at least two side walls depending therefrom on opposite sides of said tray section, said top wall being provided with a plurality of adjacently positioned apertures for accepting a corresponding number of container units each having a rim portion adjacent an open upper end thereof, at least a part of the rim portion of each container having a transverse measurement greater than the largest transverse dimension of the aperture with which it is to be associated to support said container units with their rim portions in contact with said top wall when said package is transported and prevent inadvertent disasseciation of said container units relative to said top wall in one direction, said at least two side walls of said tray section having an axial height smaller than the axial height of the portion of said container units which is beneath said top wall when said package is transported to support the top Wall of said tray section a predetermined distance above a flat supporting surface upon which the tray section and the container units are rested to prevent accidental lateral dislodgement of said container units from said tray section while permitting the top wall to move downwardly and out of contact with said rim portions, thereby facilitating manual removal of said container units therefrom.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS WILLIAM T. DIXSON, JR., Primary Examiner.

Patent Citations
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US1612166 *May 2, 1925Dec 28, 1926Baldwin Amos UBox cover
US2738606 *Apr 3, 1953Mar 20, 1956Palmer Pann CorpArtists' palette
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3529761 *Nov 13, 1968Sep 22, 1970Ferrero & C Spa PContainer for packaging items for individual removal
US3591014 *Jul 1, 1968Jul 6, 1971Littorin Ove GustavDevice for storing and distributing, for example medicine cups
US4054207 *May 10, 1976Oct 18, 1977Reynolds Metals CompanyPackage construction
US4190153 *Oct 23, 1978Feb 26, 1980California Medical Developments, Inc.Sponge disposal tray
US4314650 *Sep 26, 1980Feb 9, 1982Renzo CillarioPackage comprising a creamy confectionery product
US5249683 *May 21, 1992Oct 5, 1993L & S Design, Inc.Mounting device for displaying packaged three dimensional articles and article display formed therewith
US5271496 *Oct 14, 1992Dec 21, 1993Cain Eunice FCommunion apparatus
US5314060 *Dec 30, 1992May 24, 1994Cain Eunice FCommunion apparatus
US7226628 *Jan 31, 2003Jun 5, 2007Cai Edward ZCombined coffee package and dispenser
US7451876 *Dec 15, 2004Nov 18, 2008Inrange Systems, Inc.Universal medication carrier
US7828147Jul 18, 2007Nov 9, 2010Inrange Systems, Inc.Multi-layer medication carrier
US8019471Dec 15, 2004Sep 13, 2011Inrange Systems, Inc.Integrated, non-sequential, remote medication management and compliance system
US8057832Sep 13, 2006Nov 15, 2011Kraft Foods Global Brands LlcFully baked bread; hot dog bun; dough of flour, yeast, sodium stearoyl lactylate, salt, high fructose corn syrup, calcium propionate, oil, water, monoglycerides, diglycerides, soy flour, whey, lecithin, xanthan; outer wrapper, inner wrapper, shield on microwave oven tray, refrigerated shelf life 75 days
US8354131Nov 5, 2008Jan 15, 2013Kraft Foods Global Brands LlcMicrowavable food products
US8485377 *Oct 26, 2010Jul 16, 2013Spartech CorporationModular container assembly
US20120097673 *Oct 26, 2010Apr 26, 2012Spartech CorporationModular container assembly
WO2005109948A2 *Dec 15, 2004Nov 17, 2005Inrange Systems IncUniversal medication carrier
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/427, 426/108, 206/486, 229/120.1, 229/125.26, 229/125.29
International ClassificationB65D5/50, B65D71/40, B65D5/68, B65D77/20
Cooperative ClassificationB65D5/5038, B65D2577/205, B65D71/403, B65D5/685, B65D77/2024
European ClassificationB65D77/20E, B65D5/50D4B, B65D71/40B, B65D5/68B