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Publication numberUS3651976 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 28, 1972
Filing dateApr 1, 1970
Priority dateApr 1, 1970
Publication numberUS 3651976 A, US 3651976A, US-A-3651976, US3651976 A, US3651976A
InventorsChadbourne Gilbert R
Original AssigneeKeyes Fibre Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Molded packaging tray
US 3651976 A
Abstract
Molded packaging tray nestable with like tray comprises plurality of interconnected elongate container sections. Each container section has bottom wall with upwardly and outwardly flaring side and end walls connected thereto. Outwardly extending marginal rim is at top of side and end walls of each section. Weakened tear lines along selected portions of marginal rims in area where container sections are connected together enable individual container sections to be separated from one another. Trays are arranged for stacking one above the other with alternate trays oriented differently from adjacent ones. Marginal rims of each tray support bottom walls of container sections of tray directly thereabove in stack.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Chadbourne [451 Mar. 28, 1972 [72] Inventor:

[54] MOLDED PACKAGING TRAY Gilbert R. Chadbourne, Oakland, Maine [73] Assignee: Keyes Fibre Company, Water-ville, Maine [22] Filed: Apr. 1, 1970 V 211 Appl. No.: 24,493

I [52] U.S. Cl .1 ..220/23.4, 220/23.6, 220/23.8,

220/97 D, 229/2.5 [51] Int. Cl. ..B65d 21/04, 865d 1/34 [58] Field of Search ..220/23.4, 23.6, 23.8, 97 D;

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,009,291 11/1961 Blackmore ..220/23.4 UX 3,191,796 6/1965 Schwartz t ..220/23.6 3,355,054 11/1967 Wilson ....220/23.6 3,412,893 11/1968 Slapnik.. ..220/97 3,512,458 5/1970 Ehe ..229/2.5 UX

FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,436,949 12/1968 Germany ..229/2.5

Primary Examiner-George E. Lowrance Attorney-Connolly and Hutz [57] ABSTRACT Moldedpackaging tray nestable with like tray comprises plurality of interconnected elongate container sections. Each container section has bottom wall with upwardly and outwardly flaring side and end walls connected thereto. Outwardly extending marginal rim is at top of side and end walls of each section. weakened tear lines along selected portions of marginal rims in area where container sections are connected together enable individual container sections to be separated from one another. Trays are arranged for stacking one above the other with alternate trays oriented diflerently from adjacent ones. Marginal rims of each tray support bottom walls of container sections of tray directly thereabove in stack,

2 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to a molded packaging tray capable of being stacked with other similar trays one above the other, and more particularly to a stackable packaging tray comprising a plurality of interconnected elongate container sections.

Packaging trays molded of fibrous wood and/or paper pulp material, therrnoplastics, and similar materials, are widely used today for packaging a variety of items ranging from foodstuffs, like eggs and easily bruised fruits, to other products, such as lightbulbs and fragile ornaments. From a commercial standpoint packaging trays of this general type must be easy and inexpensive to manufacture in view of the relatively inex pensive nature of the products to be packaged therein. Also, shipment to the ultimate user requires that a maximum number of unfilled trays occupy a minimumvolume; thus the need for nesting tray arrangements. Finally, and most important, the packaging trays must fulfill the needs of the persons using them. In many packaging operations, trays loaded with easily bruised fruit, for example, must be stacked one above the other in order to conserve space. Often, the required individual containers are rather small thereby rendering the stacking operation extremely difficult if not impossible. Also, in cases where easily perishable foods are packaged, care must be taken to insure-adequate ventilation and circulation of air around the product to avoid or lessen spoilage.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a nestable and stackable packaging tray having a plurality of interconnected elongate container sections.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, a unitary molded packaging tray comprises a plurality of interconnected elongate container sections. Each section has a bottom wall with upwardly and outwardly flaring side and end walls connected thereto. An outwardly extending marginal rim is at the top of the side and end walls. Weakened tear lines are located along selected portions of the marginal rims in the area where the container sections are connected together so that the individual sections may be separated from one another along the tear lines. At least several container sections are connected together along their sides with at least one additional container section connected along one of its sides to the ends of the other container sections. A second substantially identical tray oriented 180 relative to the first tray may be stacked directly above the first tray with portions of the first tray supporting the bottom walls of the container sections of the second tray.

The upwardly and outwardly flaring side and end walls of the packaging tray of the present invention include shallow portions that extend to a height below the uppermost plane of the tray. The shallow wall portions enable ventilating currents to circulate through and around the container sections of a stack of packaging trays. Preferably, the packaging tray comprises five elongate container sections with three of the sections connected side-by-side and the other two sections connected end-to-end with one of their sides connected to the ends of the other three sections. Each container section includes a series of drainage slots in the area where the side and end walls are connected to the bottom wall. Also, the weakened tear lines may comprise perforations along selected portions of the marginal rims in the area where the container sections are connected together.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING Novel features and advantages of the present invention in addition to those mentioned above will become apparent to those skilled in the art from a reading of the following detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawing wherein:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of the lower molded packaging tray of a stack of two trays according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the stack of trays illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken along line 3--3 of FIG. I; and

FIG. 4 is a fragmental sectional view showing a pair of trays in nested position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring in more particularity to the drawing, the molded packaging tray may be formed as a unitary structure integrally molded of fibrous wood and/or paper pulp material according to known pulp slurry deposition processes to provide a unitary molded tray 10 of generally uniform thickness throughout. Each packaging tray 10 comprises a plurality of individual container sections 12 arranged as best illustrated in FIG. 1. Each section 12 has a substantially flat and rigid bottom wall 14 with upwardly and outwardly flaring side and end walls l6, 17 connected thereto. Slots 18 are located at the juncture of the bottom wall and the side and end walls. The slots extend from the side and end walls into the bottom wall to provide openings for the passage of air or drainage of liquids. An outwardly extending marginal rim 20 is positioned at the top of the side and end walls of each container section. Weakened tear lines 22 formed by perforations, for example, are provided along the marginal rims 20 in the area where the container sections 12 are connected together. As explained more fully below, the weakened tear lines facilitate separation of the individual sections from one another.

In the embodiment of the invention illustrated in the drawing, the packaging tray 10 includes a first grouping of three container sections 12 arranged in side-by-side relationship. The middle section of this grouping is connected along each of its side walls 16 to one of the side walls of each of the other two sections. Also, the packaging tray 10 of the present invention includes a second grouping of two container sections arranged in end-to-end relationship with one of the sides 16 of the container sections of the second grouping connected to the aligned end walls 17 of the container sections of the first grouping, as best illustrated in FIG. 1.

For purposes explained more fully below, the upwardly and outwardly flaring side and end walls 16, 17 of each individual container section 12 include shallow portions 24 that extend to a height below the uppermost plane of the tray. The shallow portions 24 define air flow passageways when a plurality of similar packaging trays are vertically stacked in the manner described below. The passageways allow air currents to pass over and around the contents of the container sections 12 to thereby lessen spoilage when the trays are filled with delicate erishables.

In the vertical stack of molded packaging trays 10, every other tray in the stack is oriented from its immediately adjacent trays. Thus, as is clear from the drawing, portions of the marginal rims 20 of each packaging tray 10 supportingly engage the bottom walls 14 of the packaging tray directly thereabove in the stack. Each packaging tray in the stack is supported at the uppermost plane of the tray directly therebelow in the stack. As is clear from FIGS. 2 and 3, the shallow portions 24 of the upwardly and outwardly flaring side and end walls of the container sections of each tray define a network of passageways for the flow of air for ventilation purposes. The slots 18 in the individual sections 12 also assist in channeling air around the contents of the container sections.

Ultimately, the container sections 12 comprising each packaging tray 10 are separated from one another along the weakened tear lines 22. A flexible overwrap may be sealed around each filled section 12 with the bottom wall 14 serving as an anchor surface for adhering the ends of the flexible overwrap. In certain instances it may be desired to simply cover the individual sections 12 without covering the slots 18.

FIG. 4 illustrates the manner in which the molded packaging trays 10 of the present invention are nested one within the other. Corner ledges 26 are formed at the upper portion of each corner of each container section 12. A nearly vertical side wall segment 28 extends upwardly from each comer ledge 26. As shown in FIG. 4, when two or more molded packaging trays are nested, one within the other, the corner ledges 26 of the uppermost tray rest upon the marginal rim of the tray directly'therebelow. The side and end walls 16, 17 of the individual sections 12 are thereby slightly spaced from one another to prevent frictional engagement between the side and end walls of adjacent trays in the nested array. As iswell known, this arrangement prevents locking frictional engagement between nested trays What is claimed is:

1. A unitary molded packaging tray nestable with a like tray comprising a plurality of individual elongate container sections connected together, each section having a bottom wall with upwardly and outwardly flaring side and end walls connected thereto, an outwardly extending marginal rim at the top of the side and end walls, and weakened tear lines along selected portions of the marginal rims in the area where the container sections are connected together whereby the individual container sections of the tray may be separated from one another along the tear lines, and at least two container sections connected together along their sides with at least one additional container section connected along one of its sides to the ends of the other container sections whereby a second substantially identical tray oriented relative to the first tray may be stacked directly above the first tray with portions of the marginal rims of the first tray supporting the bottom walls of the container sections of the second tray, and shallow portions in the upwardly and outwardly flaring side and end walls extending to a height below the uppermost plane of the tray whereby ventilating currents circulate through and around the container sections of a stack of packaging trays.

2. A unitary molded packaging tray as in claim 1 comprising five elongate container sections with three of the sections connected side-by-side and the other two sections connected endto-end with one of their sides connected to the ends of the other three sections, and wherein shallow portions are provided in at least three of the side and end walls of each container section.

llun' n n..-

Patent Citations
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US3009291 *Apr 23, 1958Nov 21, 1961Plastiform CompanyPlanter
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3950208 *Aug 17, 1973Apr 13, 1976Borden, Inc.Perforation, molding, foams, thermoplastic sheets
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Classifications
U.S. Classification220/23.4, 229/406, 206/519, 206/558, 47/86, 206/503, 206/518, 220/23.8, 220/23.6
International ClassificationB65D21/04, B65D1/22, B65D1/30
Cooperative ClassificationB65D21/045, B65D1/30
European ClassificationB65D1/30, B65D21/04D2