US 3460701 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 12, 1969 J. c. POWALOWSKI ET AL 3,460,701
COMPOSITE CLOSURE Filed June 7, 1967 Elli/H1111 1/ I INVENTORS JOSEPH C. POWALOWSKI JAMES E. wEsrFALL BY W, 5M,
i 19 A TT 'YS.
United States Patent York Filed June 7, 1967, Ser. No. 644,227 Int. Cl. B65d 41 /32 US. Cl. 215-10 5 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A composite closure consisting of a flexible plastic fitment and a gaskcted rigid metal closure panel. The metal closure panel is held within the fitment by the lower end of the skirt resting on a shoulder formed in the plastic fitment. A lifting ring is joined to the top panel of the plastic fitment by bridging portions, all except one of which are adapted to be broken to permit lifting of the closure from the container. Once the frangible bridging portions are broken, it serves to alert purchasers that the closure has been previously removed or tampered with. The lower end of the plastic fitment is necked in to engage the neck of the container to hold the closure in position initially and during resealing.
This invention relates to packages in general and, more specifically, is directed to a dual purpose tamperproof composite closure for use on a container to form a package. In general, composite closures are not new in the field of packaging. One known type is formed from a rigid outer member, usually of metal, and a flexible inner member, usually of plastic, rubber or the like. In some instances, the rigid member overlies the plastic member and, after removal of the closure, the flexible or plastic member is separated from the rigid member and is used to reseal the container until the contents are depleted. The rigid member provides the necessary strength to maintain a vacuum-tight seal prior to initial opening, while the flexible member has desirable properties for rescaling. In general, however, closures of this type have shortcomings from the standpoint of cost and manufacturing considerations, and are also time consuming to apply when compared with conventional caps. In. most known types of composite closures, some form of tool is required to effect removal, which is undesirable when viewed from the consumer standpoint.
The present invention relates to a package formed by a container and a novel composite closure which obviates the disadvantages of the prior art while retaining certain desirable advantages. As will become apparent, additional advantages accrue from the unique features of the present design.
The composite closure of the present invention consists of an outer plastic fitment and an inner rigid closure panel. The closure panel may be formed from metal and is installed within the plastic fitment by a press-in operation with a shoulder in the plastic fitment engaging the lower end of the skirt on the closure panel to maintain the closure panel and plastic fitment assembled as a unitary structure during removal and rescaling. The shoulder also covers the raw or severed edge of the closure panel for safety and good appearance. The present design, because of its uniform shape, is easily fabricated and easily applied to a container by a simple press on motion. In vacuum packaging, the force of atmospheric pressure acting on the closure panel assists in maintaining an effective hermetic seal with additional retaining assistance provided by interlocking of a necked-in portion 3,460,701 Patented Aug. 12, 1969 'ice of the plastic fitment with a preformed neck in the container.
The upper part of the plastic fitment is shaped to provide a stacking ring of substantial height when compared to known stacking rings. Any height may be chosen within practical consideration because there is little, if any, limitation on the extent to which the plastic can be formed. In the past, because of the coating on the metal panels and the thickness of the material, the height of the stacking ring was limited. The stacking ring in the plastic fitment of the present invention can be made to any height and also functions as a shock absorber to resist the loss of the hermetic seal when the upper part of the package receives an accidental impact.
Suitable means, which in the illustrated form consists of a lifting ring, is provided which permits the seal to be easily broken and the composite closure to be removed. The lifting ring is formed in the top panel of the plastic fitment and joined thereto through bridging portions. All of the bridging portions except one are scored to permit the lifting ring to be broken free of the fitment where it may be easily gripped by the fingers to apply force along one edge of the fitment to effect removal of the closure from the container. As the unbroken bridging portion through which force is applied is located adjacent one margin, the lifting force is non-uniformaly applied for ease in breaking the seal in packages under vacuum and efiecting initial removal of the closure. The composite closure may be reapplied and removed subsequently by the lifting ring, which also serves as a means of alerting the potential purchaser or grocery store personnel if the package has been tampered with so it may be removed from the shelf before sale to avoid loss of consumer goodwill. The advantages of the composite closure of the present invention may be further understood and better appreciated by reference to the following objects and a description of the preferred embodiment.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved composite closure member.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a composite closure having a tamper-proof ring thereon, which ring also serves to permit removal of the closure without the aid of tools or the like.
It is a still further object of this invention to provide a new and improved composite closure which is inexpensively manufactured and easily applied and which includes a stacking ring which also functions as a shock absorbing means to prevent loss of the seal should the package be subjected to accidental impacts.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a composite closure which is easily removed and reapplied, and which possesses good rescaling properties.
Other objects of this invention will become apparent upon consideration of the following description and accompanying drawings wherein like reference characters refer to like parts.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a cross-sectional view of a container and composite closure of the present invention assembled to form a hermetically sealed package;
FIGURE 2 is a fragmentary enlarged cross-sectional view of the package shown in FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a top plan view of the package shown in FIGURE 1, being illustrated on a reduced scale;
FIGURE 4 is a diametric cross-sectional view of the plastic fitment forming a part of the composite closure shown in FIGURES 1 and 2;
FIGURE 5 is a diametric cross section of the closure panel forming a part of the composite closure shown in FlGURES 1 and 2; and
FIGURE 6 is a fragmentary perspective view illustrating the composite closure in the initial stages of removal from a container.
Referring now to FIGURE 1, a package is indicated generally by reference numeral and includes a container 11 and composite closure 12. The container 11 may be formed of any suitable material such as glass, plastic, metal, ceramic, paper or the like, and is shaped to provide a container finish 13 having a tapered outer circumferential wall 14, extending downwardly from a top rim 15 forming a container mouth 15. The container finish 13 is provided with a necked-in portion 17 forming a generally radially extending shoulder 18 adapted for co-operation with the composite closure 12 to hold the latter in place in a manner to become apparent.
The composite closure 12 consists of a plastic fitment 20 and metal panel 21. For ease of description, these parts will be referred to as metal and plastic, however, it is to be understood that equivalent materials which have the necessary properties may be used. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the plastic fitment 20 was formed from polypropylene for those applications in which the package was retorted while polyethylene and less heat-resistant plastic polymeric materials were used when retorting of the package was unnecessary.
As is shown in FIGURES 3 and 4, the plastic fitment 20 consists of a top panel portion 22, having a raised bead or stacking ring 23 formed at the outer margin, which stacking ring terminates in a depending skirt 24. As seen in FIGURE 4, the depending skirt is provided with a necked-in portion 25 which is adapted for engagement with the shoulder 18 on the container 11 to hold the closure in position. The inner wall of the skirt 24 is provided with a radially extending shoulder 26 which mounts the closure panel.
As best seen in FIGURE 3, a tamper-proof lifting ring 30 is formed radially inwardly of the top panel 22, being joined through spaced bridging portions 31, 32 and 33. The bridging portions 31 and 32 may be provided with score marks or sections of reduced thickness 34 and 35 to permit fracture separation of the lifting ring 30 from the apnel 22 except for one location. The bridging portion 33 may be unscored and, if desired, may be made of greater angular dimension as illustrated to preclude separation of the lifting ring 30 from the remainder of the fitment during lifting of the closure by the ring 30. By providing score marks 34 and 35, the remaining portions of the tamper-proof lifting ring 30 are easily separated for access to the package. This will be described in greater detail hereinafter.
As seen in FIGURE 5, the metal closure panel 21 consists of a top center panel having a gasket groove at the outer margin, one side of which is formed by a depending skirt 41. A ring of gasket material 42 is provided in the groove 49 which is adapted to receive the rim 15 to seal the panel to the container 11. The lower margin of the skirt 41 may be bent outwardly as at 43, terminating in a raw uncurled edge 44.
The necked-in portion 25 of the plastic fitment 20 is of sufficient resiliency to permit the closure panel 21 to be pressed into position, while the dimensional relationship between the top panel 22 and the shoulder 26 is such that the raw edge 44 of the skirt will he held against the shoulder 26 to securely retain the closure panel within the fitment 20. The closure panel 21 can be assembled to the fitment 26 prior to application to a container or in the appropriate sequence, depending upon capping requirements.
When the composite closure is applied to a container to form the package shown in FIGURES 1 and 2, the top rim 15 of the container 11 is embedded in the gasket material 42 to form a hermetic seal. The necked-in portion of the fitment 20 engages the shoulder 18 formed by the necked-in-portion 17 of the container to hold me closure panel 21 in tightly sealed relation with the container 11. The stacking ring 23 is chosen to be of a diameter greater than the lower end of the container and not only assures lateral stability for identical packages during stacking for shipment and display, but also serves to protect against loss of seal by accidental impacts, as the stacking ring 23 and the skirt 24 on the plastic fitment acts as a shock absorber to dampen the shock of impacts usually experienced in normal handling.
When the package is to be opened, the user may insert a finger under the ring 30 between the bridging portions 34 and 35 to apply upward force. This causes fracturing of the bridging portions 31 and 32 along scored areas 34 and 35, respectively. As the ring 36 is bent upwardly with the finger as shown in FIGURE 6, the resulting force will be transmitted through the unscored bridging portion 33 along the skirt and at one side of the closure causing the closure panel 21 to be lifted along one edge to break the vacuum and make removal of the entire composite closure 12 more easily accomplished. As expected, once the tamper-proof lifting ring 30 is bent to the position shown to enable removal of the closure, it is permanently distorted so that it will remain slightly elevated in the absence of external forces. Thus, if a package has been opened once and then rescaled, the distorted condition of the lifting ring 30 and/or the broken condition of the bridging portions 31 and 32 will alert the grocery store personnel or purchaser that the package has been tampered with and it may be removed from the shelf. Obviously, a pull tab or the equivalent may be used in lieu of the lifting ring 3%. Therefore, the term lifting ring means is intended to include such well-known equivalents.
As can be appreciated, the composite closure may be rescaled to the container if the contents are only partially used by merely pressing the closure onto the container. In resealing, the circumferential wall 14 of the finish l5 expands the necked-in portion 25 of the fitment 20 during application until it snaps in beneath the shoulder 18. Removal may be accomplished by the lifting ring 30. The plastic fitment may be made of material which is of uniform thickness and is shaped by any convenient method to the configuration shown.
Upon a consideration of the foregoing, it will become obvious to those skilled in the art that various modifications may be made without departing from the invention embodied herein.
1. A composite closure particularly adapted for presson application to a container, said composite closure comprising a fitment having a top portion and a depending skirt, shoulder means formed on an inner wall of said depending skirt, a closure received in said fitment, said closure having a continuous center panel terminating at the marginal edge in a depending skirt having a trimmed edge at its lower margin, said closure being received within said fitment and having said trimmed edge of said skirt engaging said shoulder formed on said inner wall of said skirt on said fitment thereby locking said fitment and closure together, and lifting means on said fitment for use in lifting said fitment and closure as a unit from a container after application thereto.
2. The composite closure of claim 1 wherein said lifting means is joined to said top portion of said fitment through spaced bridging portions, one of said bridging portions being unscored while the remainder of said bridging portions are scored to provide easy fracture thereof for ready access to said lifting means.
3. The composite closure of claim 1 wherein said depending skirt of said fitment includes a necked-in portion at the lower end thereof, said necked-in portion being adapted for engagement with a necked-in portion on said container to hold said closure thereon.
4. The composite closure of claim 1 wherein said top portion on said fitment includes a raised bead at the outer margin, said raised bead being of a diameter slightly smaller than the diameter of the bottom portion of said container to permit stacking of said containers on said fitment and absorption of impacts to said package.
5. A hermetically sealed package for use in packaging food products and the like, said package comprising a container having a mouth defined by a container finish, said container finish including an upwardly facing rim and outwardly facing circumferential wall, an annular neck formed below said circumferential wall, a composite closure hermetically closing said container mouth, said composite closure including a closure and a fitment, said closure having a continuous center panel and depending skirt, said fitment having a top portion and depending skirt, circumferential shoulder means on the interior of said depending skirt of said fitment engaging the bottom edge of said depending skirt of said closure for holding said closure panel within said fitment, said closure panel covering said container mouth in sealing engagement therewith, and means on said fitment engaging said annular neck on said container to hold said fitment and closure onto said container, said top portion of said fitment providing lifting ring means to permit lifting of said fitment and closure as a unit for opening said package.
6. The hermetically sealed package of claim 5 wherein said lifting ring means is joined to said fitment through spaced bridging portions, all of said bridging portions except one being readily fracturable to permit breaking thereof to gain access to said lifting ring means whereby it may be readily determined if said package has been previously opened.
7. The hermetically sealed package of claim 5 wherein said fitment is provided with a raised shoulder means at a marginal edge of said top panel, said shoulder means being adapted for engagement with a bottom portion of a like container to aid in stacking of said packages.
8. The hermetically sealed package of claim 5 wherein said lifting ring means is joined to said fitment through an unscored bridging portion along: a marginal edge to permit lifting force to be applied at said edge for ease in removal from vacuum packages.
9. The hermetically sealed package of claim 5 wherein said fitment is formed of plastic of substantially uniform thickness and said closure panel is formed of metal.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,901,140 8/1959 Robinson 2l5--41 3,195,756 7/1965 Luviano 2l5--46 FOREIGN PATENTS 457,462 3/1950 Italy.
DONALD F. NORTON, Primary Examiner US. or. X.R. 215-40, 41, 46, g