Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS3674168 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 4, 1972
Filing dateJul 8, 1970
Priority dateJul 11, 1969
Also published asDE2034356A1, DE2034356B2, DE2034356C3
Publication numberUS 3674168 A, US 3674168A, US-A-3674168, US3674168 A, US3674168A
InventorsPadovani Pietro
Original AssigneeIsap Spa
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Cupped trays made from a thin sheet of plastics material for round or pear-shaped fruits or horticultural products
US 3674168 A
Abstract
Fruit tray made from thin plastics sheet has recesses with integral wall and floor. Part of the wall of each recess is bulged inwardly so that part of the bulge forms an anchoring element for the fruit. This element is located in the region of the mid-height of the fruit concerned and the lower part of the bulge is deformed outwardly by the fruit when inserted. The element then holds the fruit against the recess bottom.
Images(6)
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

C United States Patent [151 3,674,168 Padovani July 4, 1972 [54] CUPPED TRAYS MADE FROM A THIN 3,074,582 l/l963 Martelli ..2l7/26.5 SHEET OF PLASTICS MATERIAL FOR n/eissii, ..229/2.5 x R PEAR F arte l... ..217/26 5 gg g QE g OR 3,049,259 8/1962 Mazzi ..229/2.5 X 3,306,484 2/1967 Padovani. ..229/2.5 X [72] Inventor; Pietro Padovanj, Verona, m 3,185,370 5/1965 Reifers ..229/2 5 [73] Assignee: I.S.A.P. SpA, Verona, Italy FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS [22] Filed: July 8, 1970 1,508,237 11/1967 France. ..229/2.5 [2 App No: 53,264 626,415 10/1961 Italy ..217/26.5

Primary ExaminerDonald F. Norton [301 Foreign Application Priority Data Attorney-Oberlin, Maky, Donnelly & Renner July 11, 1969 Italy ..61254 A/69 57 ABSTRACT 52 us. Cl ..217 26.5 229 2.5 Fruit my made fmm thin PlasticS has messes with {51; Int. Cl ...B6 5d 85 /34 tegral wall and floor Part of the wan of each recess is bulged n inwardly so that part of the bulge forms an anchoring element [58] new of Search 229/2 217/ 220/23 8 for the fruit. This element is located in the region of the midheight of the fruit concerned and the lower part of the bulge is [56] References cued deformed outwardly by the fruit when inserted. The element UNITED STATES PATENTS then holds the fruit against the recess bottom.

3,326,443 6/1967 Burkett ..229/2.5 6 Claims, 28 Drawing Figures PA'TENTEDJ L 4 I972 3,674. 168

sum 2 or 6 CUPPED TRAYS MADE FROM A THIN SHEET OF PLASTICS MATERIAL FOR ROUND OR PEAR-SHAPED FRUITS OR HORTICULTURAL PRODUCTS This invention relates to cupped trays made from a thin sheet of plastics material. Such trays are used in particular to receive round or pear-shaped fruits or other horticultural products. Fruits carried by such trays are then packed into boxes for transport, the trays serving to separate adjacent layers.

It is well known that roundish or drop-shaped (i.e. pearshaped) fruits, before being packed in trays made of thin plastics material which are used as pre-packing layers in wooden or cardboard boxes, are divided in classes in accordance to their diameters by means of diameter selection.

For peaches, for example, there are different classes, each one has a minimum and a maximum measure expressed in millimeters: 81/74; 74/68; 68/62; 62/56 etcetera.

In such known trays, even the ones for pears, cavities, where the fruits are received, are made in such a way that they extend themselves in a radial direction, because the tightening of the fruits is assured by the camber towards the exterior of the lateral walls of the cavities. Consequently, such cavities allow the housing of fruits with slightly larger diameter than the one which the cavities are made for, but they do not have any tightening action on those fruits which have a smaller diameter than that which the cavities are made for.

For this purpose to-day, to obtain a satisfactory tightening of the fruits into the lateral walls of the cavities, for each class of fruits there are on the market two and sometimes three trays of the same overall dimensions, able to contain a different number of fruits. For peaches of 68/62 class, for example, there are on the market three trays of dimension 34 X 54 cm.: one for fruits, another for 48 fruits and a third for 45 fruits.

If in a 5l fruits tray are put fruits with a diameter suitable for 45 fruits tray, radial yielding of the lateral wall of the cavity often occurs, sometimes with the breakage of the walls themselves, with consequent loss of time in packing because of the need to push back manually to the normal position the walls which were bent, in order to accomplish the secure insertion of a smaller fruit. On the contrary, if in a 45 fruits tray are put fruits with a diameter suitable for a 51 fruits tray, a satisfactory tightening is not obtainable, with the consequent damage of the fruits during transportation on long distances.

At the present time, when the trays are filled with fruits of the same class, a visual selection is performed by the workers of the packaging section, with consequent loss of working time and relative increase of the packaging price. i

The invention aims to provide trays with cavities capable of holding and tightening satisfactorily fruits of the same class, no matter if they are of the minimum, medium or maximum diameter.

To achieve this purpose, the tray, object of the invention, has some cavities in which the lateral walls have anchoring elements for the fruits to the bottom of the tray. Such anchoring elements, which are of different height and projection towards the median vertical axis of the cavities, are made in such a way that the distance between them and the median vertical axis of the cavity is shorter than the radius of the fruit which has to be anchored, while the distance between the anchoring elements and the plane passing on the bottom of the cavities is greater than the length of the radius of the fruit which has to be received in the cavity.

The invention eliminates the inconveniences described above, because for a single class of fruits it permits the use of only one tray, because its cavities can tighten satisfactorily all the fruits of the same class no matter if they are of maximum, medium, or minimum diameter within that class; this makes manual packaging much faster, and avoids the need for visual selection. It surrnounts many of the difficulties which, up to now, have been a hinderance to the achievement of a satisfactory mechanical packing of the trays.

Thus, the invention provides a tray made from a thin sheet of plastics material and for receiving fniits within a predetermined size range, the said tray comprising a plurality of recesses each defined by lateral walls extending upwardly from a bottom portion which is integral with the walls, the bottom portion and the walls being formed wholly from the said sheet of plastics material, characterized in that each recess has anchoring elements for the fniit located at a distance (measured in a plane parallel to the bottom of the recess and spaced a distance equal to the radius of the median size of fruit above said plane) from the central vertical axis of the recess that is less than the maximum radius of the minimum size of fruit in the aforesaid predetermined size range, the said anchoring elements being each formed by an inwardly extending bulge of the material of the said lateral walls.

The invention will be better understood from the following description which has to be considered with the attached drawings in which a non-Iimitative example of the invention is illustrated. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a top view of several cavities of a known and conventional form of fruit tray;

FIG. 2 is a vertical section of a cavity taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 3, 4, and 5 are the same sections as in FIG. 2 showing fruits of different diameter inserted in the cavities;

FIG. 6 is a top view similar to FIG. 1 of the cavities of a tray constructed according to the invention;

FIG. 7 is a vertical section of a cavity taken along the line 7-7 of FIG. 6;

FIGS. 7a, 7b, are the same sections as in FIG. 7 according to two modifications of the invention;

FIGS. 8, 9 and 10 are the same sections as in FIG. 7 showing inserted fruits, respectively of maximum, medium, and minimum diameter of the same class;

FIG. 11 is a top view of three cavities of a second kind of tray of which the cavities have been designed in accordance with the invention;

FIG. 12 is a section of a cavity on the line 12-12 of FIG. 1 1;

FIG. 13 is a median vertical section of a cavity taken along the line 13-13 of FIG. 1 1;

FIG. 14 is a top view of three cavities like the ones in FIG. 1 l, but which are made according to a further embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 15 is a median vertical section of a cavity taken along the line 15-15 in FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is a top view of three cavities of a third type of tray, representing another embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 17 is a median vertical section of a cavity taken along the line 17-17 in FIG. 16;

FIG. 18 is a top view of three cavities of a fourth type of tray, such cavities being designed to realize the advantages of the invention;

FIGS. 19 and 20 are vertical median sections of a cavity taken along lines 19-19 and 20-20 respectively in FIG. 18;

FIG. 21 is a top view of several cavities of a tray, similar to the ones illustrated in FIGS. 18, 19, and 20, with a particular disposition of the elements making up the invention;

FIG. 22 is a median vertical section of a cavity taken along the line 22-22 of FIG. 21;

FIG. 22a is a median vertical section of a cavity taken along the line 22a-22a in FIG. 21;

FIG. 23 is a top view of several cavities of a packing tray for pears, designed in accordance with the principles of the present invention;

FIG. 23a is a vertical median section of a cavity taken along the line 23a-23a in FIG. 23;

FIG. 23b is a vertical section of two cavities taken along the line 23b-23b in FIG. 23.

In all the Figures, the same or equivalent parts are denoted by the same numerical references. One sees from FIGS. 1-5 that the cavities are defined by a flat circular bottom 25, and a lateral wall 26 of frustro-conical shape diverging towards the top. At the connecting points (adjacent zones) of three cavities, the lateral walls 26, over the edge of the near cavity, are connected one to the other by means of hollow prongs which have the shape of a triangular frustro-pyramid, which are capped with dome-structures 27.

The median vertical axes of these prongs pass through the vertices of the hexagon which can be regarded as bounding each cavity. Saddles 28, having known structure and functionality, connect one hollow prong to its adjacent prongs.

Although it is not illustrated in the drawings, the bottom portion 25, the lateral wall 26 and the prongs, which are extensions of the walls 26 towards the top, can be furnished, wholly or partially, with ribs and/or grooves and/or rulings, which are well known for their structure and their functionality.

The gripping of a fruit 29 among the lateral walls of a cavity, in a conventional tray, see FIG. 3, occurs because of the flexibility of the lateral wall 26 and of the frustro-pyramidal prongs, combined with the rigidity of the cavity (herein also called a recess). This rigidity is bestowed in part by the thickness of the wall, and/or by ribs, projections, and/or recesses associated with the structures 27. The fruits 29' and 29", illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5, are not gripped by the lateral walls of the cavities.

With reference to FIGS. 6-10, it has to be noted that the cavities and the fruits have dimensions corresponding to the ones in FIGS. 1-5 respectively. The lateral walls 26 have anchoring elements constituted by inwardly extending bulges or projections 30 and 31 having a generally conical shape merging with the wall 26 towards the top of the bulge 30 or 31.

Such projections, which serve as efi'ective anchoring elements for the fruits, are spheroidally shaped as seen in plan view, e.g. FIG. 6 tapered. The upper parts of the bulges 30 and 31 form anchoring elements 32 and 33. These can be reinforced with respect to the remaining parts of the cavity by means of the well known techniques of moulding of their sheets of plastics material. The anchoring elements 32 and 33, see FIGS. 9 and 10 serve to grip the fruits 29' and 29" respectively at the level of the horizontal plane passing approximately through the center of the fruits. They apply a light pressure on the fruits so that the fruits are effectively anchored to the bottom 25 of the cavities. In fact the anchoring elements 32 and 33 have respectively longer and shorter spacing than the radius of the fruits 29' and 29" from the median vertical axis of the cavity. Observing the drawings it is easily understood that the fruits 29' and 29 are anchored to the bottom 25 according to planes which are lying below and parallel to the one passing through the top of the dome-shaped projections 27.

As it is clearly shown in FIG. 10, the bulges 30 and the anchoring elements 32 co-operate with parts 31 and 33 in securing the anchoring of the fruits 29".

With a particular reference to FIG. 8 it is noted that the fruit 29 is placed in the recess just as is done in FIG. 3. The projections 30 and 31 and the elements 32 and 33, shown in their normal positions with an empty recess, do not interfere with said gripping because the fruit 29, during its insertion in the cavity, bends the elements 32-33 towards the exterior of the cavity. Such elements, when so bent, take up a steady position, and do not exert any force from the bottom towards the top of the fruit.

As is shown in FIGS. 8 and 9 the bottom 25', in the zones adjacent the projections 30 and 31, is slightly bent upwardly because the bending towards the exterior of the bulges 30 and 31, due to the inserted fruits, causes a pulling action on the bottom 25. Such peripheral lifting of the bottom 25 can be avoided, if desired almost completely, by connecting the anchoring elements 32 and 33to the bottom of the cavity, without altering the circular shape of it, or by fomiing the bottom with initially non-circular shape.

The invention is not altered in its esence if the projections 32 and 33, instead of having spheroidal form, are shaped as seen in plan like a trapezium 32' and 33, see FIGS. 7a and 7b, in which said elements are connected with the bottom 25' by means offrustro-pyramidal structures 30 and 31'v and cylindrical structures 30" and 31" respectively.

Practical tests have been proved that anchoring the fruits to the bottom of the cavites, in the manner shown in FIGS. 9 and 10 is more efl'ective than gripping them merely by the unmodified lateral walls of FIG. 3. It is obvious the invention is not departed from, even if the large fruits like 29, FIG. 8 are provided with an anchoring very similar to the one made for the fruits 29' and 29" seen in FIGS. 9 and 10.

The invention is applicable also to those trays, similar to the ones described above, whose cavities are surrounded and separated by three frustro-conical or frustro-pyramidal prongs, instead of six, these three prongs being connected to each-other in a well known way.

The tray shown in FIGS. 11-13 has recesses of the known hexagonal type. The lateral wall 26 changes its conical form near its upper end, to assume a flat or straight-line appearance near a seam 34 which connects one recess zone to the next. The seam 34 is in the form of a hexagon and it is cut by depressions 28' which form saddles to allow extraction of the fruits. In said cavities the projections 30 and 31 are not different from the ones described in reference to the previous figures except for 31 which are necessarily very steep and almost vertical. The anchoring elements 32 and 33 are, as already described, of spheroidal-tapered type and they work like the ones in FIG. 6-10. The cavities in FIGS. 14 and 15 are substantially the same as the ones in FIG. 1 1 except for a variation in the location of the projections 35 and the anchoring elements 36. These are located at the center of four of the sides of the hexagon, circurnscribing the upper part of the cavities. Even if it is not shown in the drawings, it can be imagined that two of the elements 36, which are diametrally opposite, stand out towards the interior of the cavity more than the other two. The height from the bottom of the cavities can be the same for all the anchoring elements of a cavity, without breaching the aims of the invention or reducing the efficacy of the anchoring of the fruits.

The recesses in FIGS. 16 and 17 are of hexagonaP type, and they differ from the ones illustrated in FIG. 14 because the bottom 25" has a hexagonal and not circular shape. Also there are three saddles 28" in alternate vertices of the hex-- agon.

Six projections 35 and the associated anchoring elements 36 are located at the center of the sides of the hexagon and they have the same characteristics as the ones described with reference to FIG. 14.

The cavities in FIGS. 18 20 are of inverted frustro-conical type, in which the lateral wall 26 has portions of different heights. Each cavity has three saddles 38 for the extraction of the fruits, which are located at a certain height from the bottom 25. This height is chosen to be less than the radius of the smallest fruit of the class for which the cavity is intended. Between two of the saddles 38 of a cavity the upper part of the lateral wall 26,. forms a ridge 37 which extends without lowering between two saddles 38. Between two other saddles 38 the upper part of the wall 26 forms ridges 37' which are lower than the ridge 37, but at a height from the bottom of the cavity which is slightly greater than the radius of the largest fruit belonging to the class which the cavity is made for. Between the higher ridge 37 and the lower ridge 37' there are connecting portions 39. The projections 35 of the lateral wall 26 and the anchoring elements 36 are three in this form of the invention, and they are placed in peripheral correspondence with the ridges 37 of each cavity.

The limited number of anchoring elements and their position according to the present invention are particularly advantageous for classes of fruits of small dimensions, for example peaches and pluns. For peaches and apples is recommended the fonn of tray shown in FIGS. 2l22a. The anchoring elements with connections to the bottoms of the recesses are offset in one recess relative to the other so that any rigidity of the structure or interference is avoided. In FIGS. 21 and 22 it is noted that the projections 35 project towards the interior of the recess more than the projections 35' alternating with them. Considering the anchoring (i.e. gripping) elements associated with the projections 35, 35 namely two 36 and one 36' and two 36a and one 36a, these elements have different heights due to the lesser height of the two ridges 37' compared to ridge 37. In such a tray, fruits with difierent diameter are held securely to the bottom in a very efficient manner.

Practical demonstrations have proved that such a type of recess is apt to hold to its bottom even fruits having irregular protuberances or projections, in marked contrast to prior art trays. In this embodiment, the lateral wall 26 and its projections can be provided with ribs and/or grooves, if it is desired to increase the flexibility of the cavities in radial directions. In FIGS. 23, 23a, and 23b are illustrated recesses apt to contain drop-shaped fruits like pears. Each recess has a flat circular bottom 40 from which extends a generally conical lateral wall 41, diverging towards the top and forming sectors of wall which extend to different heights.

The lateral wall sectors, in correspondence with the recesses where the body of the pear will be housed, have a small divergence from the vertical, and the lateral wall sectors, where the neck of the pear will be housed, have a high divergence. These wall sectors form a saddle 42 apt to hold the neck of the pear. The lateral wall sector which is diametrally opposite to the saddle 42 has the maximum height to form the ridge 43. The ridges 43 merge into grooves 44 which are curved towards the bottom and made round at 44 near the ridge 43 of the next recess.

On the lateral wall 41 there are some projections 45 and 47 associated with anchoring elements 46 and 48 which grip the bodies of the pears in the same way as described with reference to previous figures.

The projections 45' and 47' and the anchoring elements 46 and 48 exercise the same gripping action on the neck of the pears as the parts 46, 48. Of course the structural dimensions have to be appropriate to the radius of the necks of the pears.

The invention is advantageously applicable to those pearcontainers (not illustrated) whose cavities are delimited by cusps or frustro-pyramidal or frustro-conical projections in which at least one of the cusps which surround a cavity has a lower height than the one of the others, so that it can act as a support for the neck of the pear, which then assumes an almost horizontal position.

I claim:

1. A fruit tray made from a thin sheet of plastics material, the said tray comprising a plurality of recesses each defined by lateral walls extending upwardly from a bottom portion which is integral with the walls, the bottom portion and the walls being formed wholly from the said sheet of plastics material, each recess having anchoring elements formed by inwardly extending bulges of the material of the lateral walls of the recess, wherein each anchoring element has a fruit engaging surface facing inwardly of said recess, the upper part of the fruit engaging surface of at least one anchoring element being at a different distance from the bottom plane of the recess to the corresponding part of an adjacent anchoring element, and wherein the distance of each said part from the central vertical axis of the recess is less than its distance from the bottom plane of the recess.

2. The tray of claim 1, wherein said anchoring elements each have a part-spherical upper end connected to the bottom of the recess by means of smoothly curved walls.

3. The tray of claim 1, wherein said anchoring elements each have a flat upper end connected to the bottom of said recess by smooth walls of said anchoring element.

4. The tray of claim 1, wherein said bottom portion of said recess is substantially circular.

5. The tray of claim 1, wherein said fruit engaging surface of said one anchoring element is at a different distance from the bottom plane of said recess to the corresponding part of the two adjacent anchoring elements.

6. A fruit tray made from a thin sheet of plastics material,

the said tray comprising a plurality of pear shaped recesses each defined by lateral walls extending upwardly from a bottom portion which is integral with the walls, the bottom portion and the walls being formed wholly from said sheet of plastics material, each recess having anchoring elements formed by inwardly extending bulges of the material of the lateral walls of the recess, wherein the narrower part of said recess has at least two anchoring elements extending transversely of the longitudinal central plane of the narrower part of the recess, each of said anchoring elements having a fruit engaging surface facing inwardly of said narrower part of said recess, the upper part of the fruit engaging surface of at least one of said two anchoring elements in the narrower part of said recess being at a distance from the bottom part of said narrower part of said recess which is greater than the distance of the other of said two anchoring elements from the bottom part of the narrower part of said recess, each said distance being measured in a vertical plane which is perpendicular to said longitudinal central plane.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3049259 *Jun 29, 1960Aug 14, 1962Angelo MazziCupped tray for holding fruits and the like
US3074582 *Oct 24, 1957Jan 22, 1963Italiana Nestpack CompFruit-packing trays
US3171562 *Sep 25, 1961Mar 2, 1965Pantasote CompanyMultiple-compartment tray
US3185370 *Oct 18, 1962May 25, 1965Diamond Int CorpMolded pulp egg carton
US3306484 *Nov 30, 1964Feb 28, 1967I S A P S P ATray made of thin sheeting with cavities to receive fruit or round objects
US3326443 *Jul 19, 1965Jun 20, 1967Dow Chemical CoEgg carton
US3410437 *Jun 26, 1967Nov 12, 1968Francesco MartelliTrays or the like for packing and carrying fruit or like articles of like articles ofrounded shape
FR1508237A * Title not available
IT626415A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3934723 *Nov 18, 1974Jan 27, 1976Alan P. McGregorLight bulb container
US4193531 *Mar 3, 1978Mar 18, 1980Marc SabyPacking for eggs
US6036020 *Mar 5, 1999Mar 14, 2000Distler; LasDinner tray
US6419089 *Aug 4, 1998Jul 16, 2002Brodrene Hartmann A/SEgg tray
US8733621 *Feb 11, 2010May 27, 2014Novacart S.P.A.Method for manufacturing a container of paper material, particularly for foodstuffs
US20120043337 *Feb 11, 2010Feb 23, 2012Novacart S.P.A.Method for manufacturing a container of paper material, particularly for foodstuffs
Classifications
U.S. Classification217/26.5, 206/521.8, 229/407
International ClassificationB65D85/34
Cooperative ClassificationB65D85/34
European ClassificationB65D85/34