US 3643796 A
A six-pack of bottles is provided by encircling mid portions of the bottles with a retainer and engaging a paper board carrier and retainer beneath the bottle caps. The paper board carrier has rows of apertures formed therein for receiving the upper ends of the bottles, and is assembled with the bottles by conveyor and guide means which advance the bottles and carrier continuously along a path of travel, initially fold sections of the carrier along lines intersecting the apertures for opening the apertures to receive the upper ends of the bottles and then reversely fold the portions of the carriers for closing the apertures and securing the carrier with respect to the bottles.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Ettes aet 1 3,643,796
Ameson Feb. 22, 1972  CONTAINER PACKAGE AND METHOD 3,156,358 11/1964 Randrup ..206/65 E AND APPARATUS FUR ASSEMBLING 3,170,570 2/1965 Rice ..206/65 E SAME 3,325,004 6/1967 Wanderer.... .....206/65 E 3,387,879 6/1968 Wood ..206/65 E X  Inventor: Lawrence E. Arneson, 141 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago, [11. 60604  Filed: July 7, 1969  Appl. No.: 839,284
 US. Cl ..206/65 1E  Int. Cl ..B65d 71/00  Field of Search ..206/65 B, 65 C, 65 E; 215/10;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,320,440 6/1943 Kruea et al. ..206/65 E 2,427,838 9/1947 Cox ...206/65 E 2,650,125 8/ 1953 Long ..292/228 3,016,259 1/1962 Lawrence..... ...206/65 E X 3,073,644 1/ 1963 Baker et a1. ..206/65 E X 3,123,213 3/1964 Kulig ..206/65 E Primary ExaminerJoseph R. Leclair Assistant ExaminerSteven E. Lipman Attorney0lson, Trexler, Wolters & Bushnell, Robert W. Beart, Michael Kovac, Barry L. Clark and Jack R. Halvorsen ABSTRACT A six-pack of bottles is provided by encircling mid portions of the bottles with a retainer and engaging a paper board carrier and retainer beneath the bottle caps. The paper board'carrier has rows of apertures formed therein for receiving the upper ends of. the bottles, and is assembled with the bottles by conveyor and guide means which advance the bottles and carrier continuously along a path of travel, initially fold sections of the carrier along lines intersecting the apertures for opening the apertures to receive the upper ends of the bottles and then reversely fold the portions of the carriers for closing the apertures and securing the carrier with respect to the bottles.
3 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures CONTAINER PACKAGE AND METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR ASSEMBLING SAME The present invention relates to a novel package and method and apparatus for assembling the same, and more specifically to a novel package comprising a plurality of bottles or bottlelike containers and a carrier therefor.
The present invention particularly contemplates the packaging of breakable glass bottles although it will become apparent that certain features may be adapted for various types of containers. Heretofore, glass bottles have frequently been packaged in six-packs with the aid of cartons having divided or at least partially divided compartments or with the aid of wraparound paper board carriers constructed for extending along opposite sides as well as the top and bottom of the bottles. Such cartons or carriers are frequently relatively costly to produce, difficult to assemble with the bottles, and incapable of maintaining sufficient separation between bottles to avoid the possibility of marring or breakage.
An important object of the present invention is to provide a novel carrier structur e for bottles and similar containers and package provided thereby and a novel method and apparatus for assembling the package.
A more specific object of the present invention is to provide a novel carrier structure for bottles and the like which is of simple and economical construction and which may be quickly and easily assembled with a plurality of bottles.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a novel method and apparatus for assembling a carrier structure of the above-described type with a plurality of bottles whereby the carrier structure and bottles are manipulated relative to each other for effecting interconnection thereof by simple and efficient elongated guide elements or bars and while the carrier structure and bottles are moving rapidly and continuously along a predetermined path of travel.
A still further object of the present invention is to provide a novel bottle carrier structure and package comprising a first member encircling and retaining mid portions of the bottles and a second carrier member formed from relatively stiff selfsupporting sheet material such as paper board and the like having rows of apertures therein for receiving upper ends of the bottles and engaging beneath the caps of the bottles, which paper board carrier is constructed so that portions thereof may be folded for effectively opening the apertures for receiving the upper ends of the bottles and for then effectively closing the apertures for causing the paper board member to en- I gage beneath the bottle caps for retaining the bottles.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description and the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a simplified side elevational view showing an apparatus incorporating features of the present invention and further showing the manner in which a part of the carrier structure and a plurality of bottles are assembled with each other in accordance with features of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view taken generally along line 22 in FIG. I.
FIG. 3 is a schematic plan view showing the portion of the apparatus of FIGS. 1 and 2 in association with additional apparatus for assembling a first part ofa carrier with bottles;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary side elevational view taken generally along line 44 in FIG. 2,
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary sectional view taken generally along line 5--5 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary sectional view taken generally along line 66 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary sectional view taken generally along line 7-7 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary sectional view taken generally along line 88 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 9 is a fragmentary sectional view taken generally along 99in FIG. 2; and
FIGS. 10, 11 and 12 are respectively fragmentary plan views ofthose portions of the package and apparatus shown in FIGS. 7, 8 and 9.
Referring now more specifically to the drawings wherein like parts are designated by the same numerals throughout the various figures, a completed package constructed in accordance with the present invention is shown in FIGS AND 0. In the embodiment shown, the package comprises a plurality of bottles or containers 22 which may be formed from any desired material such as glass, plastic and metal. A first carrier or retainer member 24 encircles midportions of the containers and a second carrier or handle member 26 engages and retains upper end portions of the containers. v
It will be appreciated that the containers or bottles 22 may be substantially any known configuration or design. In the embodiment shown, each container has an enlarged generally cylindrical body portion 28, a reduced diameter neck portion 30 having a conventional bead at its upper end over which a conventional cap 32 may be applied. As will be understood, the downwardly facing edge of the cap 32 provides an annular shoulder 34.
The first carrier or retainer member 24 is in the form of an initially flat sheet of tough, flexible and resilient material. Preferably a plastic material such as polyethylene is used. As shown in FIG. 3, the member 24 is flat prior to assembly with the bottles and is provided with a plurality of apertures 36 arranged in rows and initially having transverse dimensions less than the diameter of the body portions 28 of the bottles or containers. The apertures 36 are surrounded by annular web sections 38 and adjacent web sections are integrally joined to each other as at 40.
The carrier or retainer 24 is adapted to be assembled with the containers or bottles by hand or by a suitable apparatus which need not be disclosed in detail herein. During such assembly, the bottles and the carrier are relatively axially shifted so that the bottles are forced through the apertures 36. This causes the annular web portions 38 to be expanded and the plastic material of the web portions is stretched for accommodating the bottles. At the same time the web portions are deformed so as to provide generally cylindrical bands tightly gripping the midportions of the containers or bottles as shown in FIG. 9. It will be noted that these web portions serve not only to retain the containers or bottles, but also to maintain adjacent bottles spaced from each other and cushioned with respect to each other by at least a double thickness of the plastic material so as to minimize any possibility of marring or breakage of the bottles.
The second carrier or handle member 26 is formed from a relatively stiff, self-supporting sheet material such as paper board and the like. The carrier 26 is initially made in the form ofa flat blank as indicated in FIG. 1 and also in FIG. 11 and is provided with apertures 42 corresponding in number and arrangement to the number and arrangement of the containers or bottles 22. The apertures 42 have a diameter similar to the diameter of the bottle neck portions 30 and less than the diameter of the annular shoulder 34 provided by each of the caps 32. Recesses 44 and 46 are formed in the internal margins of the carrier board defining the apertures 42. These recesses merge with and form lateral extensions of the apertures for accommodating the bottle caps during assembly of the package in the manner described below.
The apertures 42 are arranged in two rows disposed at opposite sides of a longitudinal center line of the carrier 26. The Carrier board is scored or otherwise provided with defined bend or fold lines 48 parallel to the longitudinal axis of a carrier and substantially intersecting the centers of the rows at 0p-- posite sides of the carriers longitudinal axis. These fold lines enable the portions 50 of the carrier board positioned laterally outwardly therefrom to be folded and manipulated during assembly of the package as will hereinafter be described. It is to be noted that the recesses or lateral extensions 44 and 46 of the apertures are substantially located laterally outwardly of the fold lines 48 for accommodating the container or bottle cap during assembly of the carrier member.
The carrier 26 is also provided with scored or otherwise defined fold or bend lines 52 parallel to the lines 48 and disposed laterally outwardly thereof for defining longitudinal marginal portions 54. These marginal portions are adapted to be folded downwardly so as to depend from the plane of the remainder of the carrier member 26 when the package is completed as described below.
In FIG. 1 through 3 there is shown in simplified and schematic form an apparatus 56 constructed in accordance with features of the present invention for assembling successive packages 20. In general, the apparatus 56 comprises a conveyor 57 for advancing groups of containers or bottles past a first work station 60 at which the first carrier or retainer member 24 are assembled with the bottles. A conveyor 58 then advances the groups of bottles past a second work station 62 at which the second carrier or handle members 26 are assembled. The carrier members 24 may, if desired, be assembled over the bottles by hand at the work station 60, but preferably an apparatus of the general type disclosed and claimed in U.S. Pat. No. 2,929,181 and indicated generally by the numeral 64 is provided for automatically assembling the members 24 with the bottles. Reference is made to the aforementioned patent for a disclosure of a suitable apparatus and thus such apparatus need not be further described herein.
A mechanism 66 is provided at the work station 62 for assembling the carrier members 26 with the bottles and this mechanism is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 and in greater detail in FIGS. 4-12. The mechanism 66 comprises an endless conveyor 68 positioned over the conveyor 58 at the work station 62. A feeding device 70 is mounted above the conveyor 68 for containing a stack or supply 72 of carrier members 26 and feeding successive carrier members from the bottom of the stack onto the upper run of the conveyor 68.
In the embodiment shown, the conveyor 58 comprises an elongated guide or support member 78 and endless chains 80 and 82 disposed at opposite sides of the support member and carrying the finger elements or dogs 74 engageable with the bottles.
The endless conveyor 68 may be of various known constructions including finger elements or dogs engageable with the carriers 26 for advancing them. It will be understood that the endless chains 80 and 82 of conveyor 58 and conveyor 68 are provided with suitable drive means which may include, for example, an electric motor and interconnecting gears or drive belts or chains so that the conveyors are driven for continuously advancing the bottles and the carriers 26 in timed relationship. Such drive means may be of conventional construction and need not be shown nor described in detail.
As indicated in FIG. 1, the conveyor 68 is adapted to advance successive carrier blanks 26 from the feeding means 70 toward the right and then downwardly into registration with successive groups of bottles. A guide member 84 is provided at the end of the conveyor 68 for directing the blanks around the end of the conveyor and downwardly toward the bottles. In addition, the mechanism 56 is provided with guide and folding bar means 86 extending from the guide 84 longitudinally of the work station 62 for manipulating successive blanks 26 for assembly with the bottle tops as shown best in FIGS. 4 through 12.
Referring first to FIGS. 4 and 5, it is seen that at the righthand end of the mechanism 66, the support member 78 of the conveyor 58 is substantially flat and the guide and folding bar means 86 includes a pair of longitudinally extending bars or rods 88 and overlying rods or bars 90 for receiving the blanks from the guide means 84 and initially holding the blanks in a flat condition above the tops of the bottles. The guide rods or bars 88 and 90 are positioned for engaging the carrier blanks within and adjacent to the previously mentioned fold lines 48. In addition, longitudinally extending rods 92 are located for engaging beneath the carrier blanks laterally outwardly of the fold lines 48 and shown in FIG. 5.
Referring particularly to FIGS. 4 and 6, it is seen that the rods 92 are bent upwardly and toward each other at 94 so that as the carrier blanks are moved from right to left in FIG. 4, they are folded along the lines 48 so that the outer portions 50 and 54 extend substantially vertically upwardly as shown in FIG. 6. At the same time portions of the guide bars 88 are bent as at 96 so as to be inclined for directing the carrier blanks downwardly or axially relative to the bottles. Resilient spring fingers 97 hold the carrier blank on the downwardly extending portions ofthe bars 88.
While the outer flat portions of the carrier blanks are being folded upwardly and the blanks are being directed downwardly as previously indicated, the bottles or containers are tilted away from each other as shown in FIG. 6. In other words, one row of bottles in each package is tilted outwardly in one direction and the other row of bottles in each package is tilted outwardly in the opposite direction so that the upper ends or neck portions of the bottles in the rows are spaced apart an excess distance substantially greater than their normal spacing when the package is completed. This relative shifting of the bottles is accomplished as shown in FIG. 6 by means of an elongated fixed cam bar 98 which is progressively widened from the FIG. 5 position to the FIG. 6 position and extends between and engages the neck portions of the rows of bottles. In addition, a portion 100 of the support member 78 is formed with oppositely inclined surfaces 102 and 104 and side guide bars or cam members 101 flair outwardly for facilitating this tilting action. It is also to be noted that the flexible and resilient nature of the plastic carrier member or retainer 24 permits the bottles to be tilted relative to each other without damage to the carrier member.
When the opposite side portions of the carrier blanks are folded upwardly, the portions of the apertures 42 including the lateral extensions 44 and 46 are presented so that they open laterally outwardly as shown best in FIG. 4. The aperture extensions 44 and 46 thus provide the apertures with wide open mouths facing the edges of the tops or caps of the bottles which are to be inserted through the apertures. The overall transverse dimension of the apertures taken along a line traversing both recesses 44 and 46 is greater than the diameter of the bottle caps or tops so that the caps may pass easily therethrough.
As shown in FIG. 6, preparatory to engagement of a carrier member with the upper ends of the bottles, the side portions of the carrier member are first folded upwardly so as to present the open mouths of the apertures laterally outwardly, and the opposite rows of bottles in the package are tilted so that their upper ends are spaced apart a distance greater than the distance between the fold lines 48. Then as the carrier 26 is shifted axially downwardly relative to the bottles by the downwardly inclined portions of the guide rods 88 and pressure fingers 97, the central panel of the carrier member is progressively positioned beneath the shoulder edges of the bottle tops or caps as shown in FIG. 7.
The guide rods 88 are bent as at 106 so as to extend horizontally as shown in FIGS. 4 and 7 and cooperate with additional bars 99 for properly positioning the central panel of the carrier member beneath the cap edges or shoulders. The cam member 98 is tapered from its widest dimension shown in FIG. 6 to a narrow dimension as shown in FIG. 7 which is sufficient to permit the tilted bottles to return to their normal upright parallel position and the inclined surfaces 102 and 104 of the conveyor support member 78 are also tapered to a flattened condition as shown in FIG. 7 to facilitate the return of the bottles. In addition, the'side guide bars or cam members 101 have inwardly inclined surface portions 103 positioned for engaging the sides of the bottles and shifting them back to their normal parallel adjacent position. This action causes the top or cap portions of the bottles to be inserted through the laterally exposed open mouths of the apertures in the carrier member 26 so that the edges or shoulders 34 of the cap members engage over the central panel of the carrier member as shown in FIG. 7.
As shown in FIG. 1, the folding rods 92 extend along the mechanism for retaining the upwardly folded side portions of the carrier blank as the blank passes through the positions of FIGS. 4, 6, and 7. At the end of the FIG. 7 position at which the carrier blank is engaged with all of the bottle tops in a package, the folding bars 92 terminate as shown at 108 in FIG. 1. The opposite side portions of the carrier 26 are then free to be folded downwardly and this is accomplished by additional fold or depressor bars 110 mounted along opposite sides of the path of travel for engaging the top or outer surfaces of the opposite carrier 26 side portions at a location inwardly of the fold lines 52 for folding the side portions downwardly along the fold line 48 as shown in FIG. 8. This action causes outer marginal portions 105 of the apertures 42 located between the recesses 44 and 46 to be snapped beneath the edges or shoulders 34 of the bottle cap. Thus, the carrier member 26 is securely retained with respect to the tops of the bottles. in addition, the carrier member serves to position the bottles with respect to each other and acts in combination with the carrier member 24 in preventing the bottles from contacting each other in a manner which might cause breakage.
Downstream of the path of travel from the FIG. 8 position, the guide bar and folding means 86 is provided with plows 112 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 9 for folding the outer marginal portions 54 of the carrier blank downwardly along the lines 52. In addition, elongated bars or rods 114 extend from the plows 112 for folding the marginal portions 54 to a position inclined inwardly toward the bottles and for pressing the marginal portions against suitably supported backup rods or bars 116 for insuring creasing of the carrier member along the lines 52. Thus, in the completed package, the marginal portions 54 depend downwardly from the plane of the central panel of the carrier 26 and preferably inwardly so as to provide the carrier with a generally channel-shaped transverse cross section. The depending marginal portions 54 effectively prevent flexing of the central panel of the carrier in the vicinity of the apertures 42 sufficiently so that accidental disengagement of the bottle tops from the carrier 26 is precluded. When it is desired to remove the bottles from the package, the marginal portions 54 are manually folded upwardly whereupon the carrier may be relatively easily disengaged from the tops of the bottles.
The carrier member 26 may be provided with a variety of integral or separate handle means for facilitating carrying of the package. In the embodiment shown, the carrier member is provided with handle means in the form of finger apertures While a preferred embodiment of the present invention has been shown and described herein, it is obvious that may details may be changed.
1. A package comprising a plurality of bottles, each of said bottles having a cap thereon, the outer diameter of each of said caps being greater than the outer diameter of said bottles immediately below said cap, a first carrier formed from a sheet of resilient and deformable plastic material and having bottle gripping apertures formed therein and arranged in two parallel rows, said first carrier being mounted on the lower portions of said bottles to firmly grip and maintain said bottlesin two parallel rows, a second carrier formed from a sheet of substantially stiff material and having a plurality of holes therethrough positioned substantially on the longitudinal axes of said bottles in said first carrier, said holes having diameters substantially equal to the outer diameters of said bottles immediately below said caps, said second carrier being mounted on said bottles immediately below said caps, a pair of fold lines formed in said second carrier, each of said fold lines positioned to extend between the ends of said second carrier and substantially through the longitudinal axes of the bottles of one of said rows, said second carrier further being formed to have lateral extensions of each of said holes, each of said lateral extensions being positioned contiguous to one of said fold lines on the side thereof toward the side marginal edges of said second carrier, and each of said lateral extensions in cooperation with said holes being shaped to define a substantially rectangular opening along the corresponding fold line and being longer than respective hole diameter and with an intermediate portion of the margin of the opening remote from the fold line being engaged beneath an included bottle cap for support of a bottle.
2. A package as defined in claim 1, wherein the side marginal edges of said second carrier are folded along lines parallel to the rows of bottles downwardly and toward said bottles.
3. A package as defined in claim 1, wherein each cap-engaged intermediate margin constitutes a marginal portion of the corresponding hole.
UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION Patent No. 3,643,796 I Dated February 22, 1972 Inventor(s) Lawrence E. Arneson It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Col. 2, line 4-5, change "(AND-0." to' 9 and l 2.--
Col. 2, line 12, after "be insert -of-- C01. 6, line 2, change "may" to -many-- Col. 6, line 31, after "than" insert -its-- Signed and sealed this 29th day of August 1972.
(SEAL) I Attest:
EDWARD M FFLETCHERJR. v ROBERT GOTTSCHALK Attesting Officer Commissioner of Patents FORM Do-1050 (1069) USCOMM-DC 60376-P59 Q U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1969 0-366-334