US 3680772 A
A sealed container having a shell or envelope for removably containing in sealed relation an article, such as sterile, surgical gloves, and which incorporates a flexible closure flap, with a rupturable seal formed by a strip or slip of easily frangible sheet or web material, such as paper, which is folded and secured on one side of its fold to the outer face of the main body envelope or shell and on the other side of its fold to the inner face of the closure flap, the tear zone for the seal being formed by the interconnecting unsecured web or sheet fold portion of the seal.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Hoover [451 Aug. 1,1972
 SEALED CONTAINER ARRANGEMENT  Inventor: Robert B. Hoover, Massilon, Ohio  Assignee: Affiliated Hospital Products, Inc., St.
 Filed: Dec. 29, 1969  Appl. No.: 888,265
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,107,786 10/1963 Adelman ..206/63.2 2,560,535 7/1951 2,389,747 11/1945 Stone et al. ..229/85 Allen ..229/76' FOREIGN PATENTS 0R APPLICATIONS 18,390 5/1899 Switzerland ..229/92.5
Primary Examiner-George E. Lowrance Assistant Examiner-Stephen P. Garbe Att0rneyReginald F. Pippin, Jr.
.  ABSTRACT A sealed container having a shell or envelope for removably containing in sealed relation an article, such as sterile, surgical gloves, and which incorporates a flexible closure flap, with a rupturable seal formed by a strip or slip of easily frangible sheet or web material, such as paper, which is folded and secured on one side of its fold to the outer face of the main body envelope or shell and on the other side of its fold to the inner face of the closure flap, the tear zone for the seal being formed by the interconnecting unsecured web or sheet fold portion of the seal.
19 Claims, 15 Drawing Figures PATENTEDAUG 1 m2 SHEEI 1 BF 5 ROBERT B HOOVER INVENTOR PATENTEUAUB I I972 3.680.772
mm 2 or 5 ROBERT B. HOOVER INVENTOR QFIG.8 I
ATTORNEY ms'mmm H91? 3,680,772
SHEET 3 [IF 5 ROBERT 5 n3: E
INVENTOR g w zk/ a ATTORNEY PATENTEDAUI; 1 1912 3.680.772
SHEET u 0F 5 ROBERT B HOOVER INVENTOR w z/w ATTORNEY PATENTEDAUB 1 I972 3.680.772
SHEEI 5 OF 5 ill ROBERT B HT/OVER ATTORNEY SEALED CONTAINER ARRANGEMENT This invention relates to an improved sealed container or package arrangement, and more particularly to an improved sealed package arrangement which is particularly adapted for sue in packaging sterile surgical articles such as gloves, catheters, etc.
In US Pat. No. 3,107,786 there is disclosed a package for surgical gloves, which is advantageous in enabling the sterilization of the package and its contained articles (e.g. surgical gloves) and in enabling the opening of the package and removal of the sterile articles therefrom at the time of use, particularly inasmuch as the outer wrapper of the package forms a sterile field for the inner wrapper and sterile articles contained therein. This patent also discloses the employment of a seal for such a package, as it is highly desirable that the package be and remain sealed until the time of the actual use, especially in order to insure the maximum degree of sterility possible. However, with the seal arrangement as disclosed in this patent, various problems have been encountered in actual usage, including the possibility of rupturing the outer wrapper and consequent rupture of the sterile field formed thereby on its inner surface, upon attempted tearing open of the seal which covers the tab end of the flap of such a package. In this respect, the seal in this prior patent is a simple pressure sensitive slip of tape which is applied over the outer end of the closure flap of the package, with a portion of the tape in contact with the adjoining outer surface of the package shell or main body portion. In addition, this seal arrangement is to some extent capable of being poorly sealed or becoming unsealed in its surface adhesion to the outer surface of the shell or envelope forming the package. Further, the seal is not particularly esthetically pleasing to the eye in its open appearance.
It is accordingly an object and feature of the present invention to provide an improved sealed package or envelope arrangement which is particularly adapted to sterile article containment, and which minimizes the likelihood of tearing the outer shell or wrapper for an article contained therein, in the course of breaking the seal and opening the package or envelope.
It is a further feature to provide animproved sealed package, container, or envelope arrangement having a closure flap which is removably sealed to the main body portion of the package, container or envelope, and in which the seal is formed by a separate shear rupturable or tearable folded membrane secured beneath the closure flap and to both of the under surface of the closure flap and the outer surface of the main body portion of the package, container or envelope.
It is a further feature to provide an improved sealed package the inherent construction of which enables the making of a package of esthetically pleasing appearance.
Still other objects, features and attendant advantages will become apparent to those skilled in the art from a reading of the following detailed description of several embodiments constructed according to the invention, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective view of a sealed package arrangement according to the invention.
FIG. 2 is a further schematic perspective view of the package, of FIG. 1, as viewed from the opposite face thereof.
FIG. 3 is a further schematic perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. I, and illustrating more clearly the seal arrangement thereof.
FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate the rupturing of the seal arrangement and opening of the package of FIG. 1.
FIGS. 6 and 7 are schematic perspective illustrations of an exemplary inner folded article-containing wrapper, or inner article package, which may be housed within the shell or envelope of the package of FIG. 1.
FIGS. 8 and 9 illustrate the various steps in foldforming the package of FIG. 1, and FIG. 10 illustrates the final fold-forming operations and attachment of the seal to the package.
FIG. 11 is a schematic perspective view of the final package configuration similar to that of FIG. I
FIG. 12 illustrates a modified envelope construction which may employ the present invention.
FIG. 13 illustrates the envelope of FIG. 12 in sealed relation, and incorporating a seal according to the present invention.
FIG. 14 is a further perspective view illustrating the final sealed and folded configuration of the envelope of FIGS. 12 and 13.
FIG. 15 illustrates a further modified embodiment according to the invention.
Referring now in detail to the figures of the drawing in the first and preferred embodiment according to the invention, which is particularly adapted to employment in the sterile containment of surgical articles, such as surgical gloves, catheters, etc., the embodiment takes the from of an article-containing shell, envelope or wrapper l I, which has a main bodyportion or shell 13, with a flexible closure flap 15. The flexible closure flap is sealed to the main body portion or shell 13 through the medium of a seal 17, which seal is sufficiently durable for the desired usage, yet readily rupturable without requiring rupture of either the closure flap 15 or main body shell 13.
This seal 17 preferrably takes the form of a relatively easily torn or sheared membrane, and particularly preferrably a small piece of paper sheet material, or other suitable easily effectively torn, sheared or ruptured material which is capable of being folded or formed in the manner which will be next described in respect to the seal arrangement.
As will be seen particularly from FIGS. 1, 3 and 4, the tear seal 17 is secured beneath the flap l5, and is thereby normally hidden from view and enables the package to present a quite neat appearance in this respect. The seal 17 is not only disposed in this hidden relationship beneath the flap 15, but is also formed and secured in a highly advantageous manner such that the rupture or tearing thereof is accomplished along a tear zone which does not include either the flap 15 or the main body shell, thereby enabling the package to be opened with minimum likelihood of tearing into the inner sterile field which may be formed by the shell 13 in those instances where the package is employed in a sterile article-containing form.
To this end, the seal 17 which as noted above, may advantageously be and is preferrably formed of paper, is applied such that in the secured position the seal separately engages both the under surface of the flap I5 and the facing outer surface of the main body shell 13, with a'connecting portion therebetween which is not itself adhered to either of the flap 15 or the wall of the shell 13. In the illustrated embodiment, this seal 17 is formed by a relatively small paper strip which, in the normal fully folded and sealed position of the container, envelope or package 1 1, lies folded beneath the flap 15. In this folded relationship of the seal 17, the seal has amid-section fold line 17c forming the juncture between the two surface-bonded end sections 17a and 17b. The end sections 17a and 17b of the seal 17 are suitably secured in flat interfacing relationship respectively with the under surface of the flap l5 and the outer surface of the adjacent outer panel section of the main body shell 13 of the container or package 11. Securing of the end sections 17a and 17b of the seal 17 to the flap l5 and outer surface of the shell 13 may be effected as desired, and is preferrably effected through the employment of a surface bonding medium such as a suitable adhesive, mucilage or cement, it being particularly preferable that the bonding, tensile and sheer strength of the bonded cement, adhesive or other medium be greater than the tear strength of the material forming the adjacent outer wall of the main body shell 13 and the closure flap 15, thereby assuring that the seal may not be readily unnoticeably broken loose from the flap and/or the shell 13. It is thus preferable that the main body shell 13 and the flap 15 also be formed of an easily tearable or frangible material, such as paper or the like, although it will be apparent that various other materials may be employed as desired while retaining all or lesser than all of the features of the invention in its preferred form.
Referring particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2, in the preferred embodiment the closure flap 15 is formed to have a tab end 15a thereon which extends beyond the fold edge of the main body shell 13, and which may be reverse folded to generally lie against the bottom panel surface of the shell 13, as indicated in FIG. 2. This flap extension or lift tab 15a is advantageous in enabling a user to readily grasp the flap 15 for the purpose of breaking the seal 17 and opening the package or container 11. After grasping of the flap tab 15a between the fingers, the user may then raise the flap 15, as indicated in FIGS. 3 and 4, and exert a pull, preferrably somewhat diagonally with respect to the container or package 11, as indicated by the arrow P in FIG. 4, to thereby effect a tearing of the seal 17 along the fold zone 17c which, as noted above, forms a connecting membrane between the flap 15 and shell 13, but which is itself not directly adhered to either the flap 15 or the shell 13. After tearing of the seal 17 in the manner as indicated in FIG. 4, the flap 15 is thereupon freed from its connection with the main body shell 13, leaving the two separated portions 170 and 17b of the seal 17 adhered respectively on flap l5 and main body shell 13. The user may thereupon proceed to open the package or container 11 and remove the contents.
In the preferred and illustrated embodiment of the invention, as noted above, the contents of the container or package 1 1 may suitably be a sterile surgical, such as surgical gloves, catheter, or the like. Such an article is schematically illustrated in FIGS. 6 and 7, in which a pair of surgical gloves is indicated in invisible broken lines 29, contained in an article wrapper 21, which is shown in the semi-folded condition in FIG. 6 and the fully folded condition in FIG. 7. Such a folded article wrapper arrangement is disclosed in prior US. Pat. No. 3,107,786, and it will be apparent that various other articles, with or without wrappers thereon, may be packaged in accordance with the invention, if so desired. In the particular form of folded article wrapper 21 and surgical article 29, the gloves 29 are disposed within compartments formed by cover panels 25 and base panel 23, with opening tabs or flaps 27 which enable the total article wrapper 21 to be unfolded after initial unfolding to the position of FIG. 6, without necessitating contact with the gloves 29 by the person unfolding the wrapper 21.
The folded article wrapper 21 and gloves 29 may be suitably disposed within the main body shell 13 of the package or container 11 of FIG. 1, as by the fold arrangement as indicated in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10. This arrangement is particularly advantageous in the practice of the invention, in that it enables the provision of a sterile article-removal field formed by the interior surface of an outer sheet 14 which is folded as indicated in FIGS. 8, 9 and 10 to provide the total envelope or container ll therefor. Thus, after tearing the seal 17 and opening the shell 13 formed by the sheet 14, it will be seen that the folded inner article wrapper 21 may then be suitably positioned on the central zone of the field formed by the sheet 14, and thereupon unfolded to enable the removal of the surgical gloves 29 or other desired articles contained therein.
In folding the sheet 14 to the final configuration of FIGS. 1 and 11, it will be readily ascertained from the respective FIGS. 8-10 that the wrapper 21 is first folded and inserted within the central zone of the field formed by the sheet 14, at an approximately 45 degrees diagonal thereto, and thereupon the lower diagonal corner of the sheet 14 is folded up and onto the wrapper 21 as indicated at 13a, and the flap portion through 13a is reverse-folded back onto the panel portion 1311. Next, the side flaps 13b are folded inwardly onto one another and diagonal end tabs 13b are folded back onto the panels 13g, as more clearly seen in FIG. 9, to enable the user to more readily lift and open these side panels during the subsequent opening of the package 11. Thereupon, the upper panel section 13c is folded down upon the side panel flaps 13b, as indicated in FIGS. 9 and 10, and the closure flap 15 is folded back as indicated at 15b, whereupon the seal 17 is adhered to the under surface of the flap 15 and the adjoining outer surface of the shell 13. In this manner, it
will be readily appreciated that the seal 17 may be a simple membrane or slip of paper having an adhesive backing thereon, which may suitably be of a securely bonding pressure sensitive type, and which preferrably has the characteristics as noted heretofor with respect thereto, or such seal 17 may be adhered by the separate application of an adhesive to the seal at the interfacing bonding surfaces between the seal 17 and the turned back flap 15 and the shell surface 13. It would not be desirable to form the adhesive on the under surface of the flap 15 and/or the outer surface of the shell 13, as this might, and would probably, result in direct surface adhesion between the two interfacing surfaces of flap l5 and shell 13, which it is desired to avoid.
After application of seal 17 as indicated in FIG. 10, the flap 15 is folded down onto the interfacing panel surface of the main body shell 13, and the flap tab 15a is thereupon reverse-folded about the adjacent lower edge fold of the package or container 11, as indicated in FIGS. and 11.
The opening of the package or container 11 is accomplished by the user grasping the flap tab a and raising the flap as discussed above in connection with FIGS. 4 and 5, after which the package shell 13 is unfolded in the reverse manner asthat indicated in FIGS. 8-10, to thereby enable the unfolding of the article wrapper 21 and the removal of the surgical articles 29 for use in a surgical or other medical procedure as may be desired.
FIGS. 12-14 illustrate a modified form of the inven- I tion, which may be more suitably employed when it is not desirable or necessary to provide an enlarged sterile field sheet for use in the removal of the article or articles enclosed in the sealed container. In this embodiment, which superficially to a substantial extent resembles an ordinary envelope of the type employed in mailing letters, the container 111 has a main body shell 113 formed by overlapping panel sections 113a, 113b and 1130, the side panel sections 113b being suitably secured, as by a permanent or semipermanent adhesive, to the lower panel section 113a at the overlapping junction zones thereof. The shell 113 thereby forms a pocket into which an article may be placed, and this pocket may be suitably closed and sealed by the closure flap 115 which is formed integral with the main body shell 113.
The closure flap 115 in this embodiment is formed with its tab end 115a having an extended length greater than the heighth of the panel 113e, whereby the tab 115a may be folded beneath the opposite fold edge of the shell 113 as indicated in FIGS. 13 and 14, and similarly to the tab fold 15a in the embodiment of FIGS. l-11, thereby enabling ease of user pick-up and grasping of the tab end of the flap 115. After folding of the closure flap 115 down upon the adjoining outer surfaces of the side and bottom panel sections 113b, 113a, the flap 115 is bent up and back upon itself in the manner as indicated at 15b in FIG. 10, and a frangible seal 1 17 is secured to the up-facing under surface of the flap 115 and the adjoining up-facing outer surface of the shell 113, the particular portion of which is formed by the lower up-folded panel section 113a in this embodiment. Thereupon, the flap 115 is folded down upon the interfacing outer surface of the shell 113, and the protruding lift tab 115a is folded under and generally against the opposite panel outer face of the shell 113. The final sealed package arrangement is indicated at 111 in FIG. 14, the seal being indicated in broken lines at 117. In this respect, it will readily be appreciated that the seal 117 is shown in the somewhat canted form in this and the prior described embodiment of FIGS. 1-11 for purposes of ease of illustration and also to indicate the possibility and likelihood that the seal will be applied in this manner, although it will readily be appreciated that the seal may be applied so as to directly overlap itself in the normal folded position thereof, as through being applied at a 90angle to the upper and lower parallel fold edges of the shell 113, or alternatively, the seal 117 may have other configurations than the rectangular form shown, such as circular, oval, square, etc., and may be positionally oriented as may be desired, within the practice of the invention.
FIG. 15 illustrates a further modified embodiment according to the invention, in which an envelope 211 is formed similarly to that of FIGS. 12-14, with a main body shell 213 and closure flap 215, and in which the closure flap is sealed to the main body shell 213 through the medium of a tear seal 217 similar to the tear seal 17 and 117 of theembodiments of FIGS. l-11 and 12-14. In the illustration, the flap 215 is shown with its tab end folded'back in order'to illustrate the presence of the seal, thefinal and normal folded configuration of the envelope 211 being that where the closure flap 215 is fully folded down with its tab end in the position as shown in phantom lines in this view. This embodiment differs from that of FIGS. 12-14 in that the tab end of the flap 215 does not extend down around the adjacent lower fold edge of the main body shell 213, being thereby somewhat less easily grasped by the user for the purpose of raising the flap 215 to tear the seal 217 for the purpose of opening the envelope 211. However, this embodiment does offer some somewhat compensating advantages in that the tab end of the flap'215 will accordingly tend to lie more flat against the adjacent interfacing surface of the main body shell 213 than will be the case with the reversefold loose tab end 15a and a of the embodiments of FIGS. l-ll and 12-14. It will be apparent that, if similar placement of the lift tab end of the flap 15 in the embodiment of FIGS. 1-11 is desired, this may be accomplished by moving the position of the inner wrapper package 21 upwardly from its illustrated partially off-center position in the field formed by sheet 14, to thereby form a flap 15 of shorter effective length and thus eliminate the reverse fold formation of the lift tab end 15a. Alternatively, by shiftingthe position of inner wrapper package 21 further downward off center in the field of sheet 15 as a prelude to folding of sheet 14, the reverse fold tab end 15a may be increased in length, and if desired the seal 17, or an additional dual safety seal 17 may be employed beneath this lift tab end 15a of the closure flap 15.
While the invention has been described with respect to several illustrative embodiments, it will be apparent that various additional modifications and improvements may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not to be limited by the particular illustrative embodiments, but only by the scope of the appended claims.
That which is claimed is:
1. An envelope comprising a flexible shell a flexible closure panel flap connected to said shell and folded over along a connecting fold into superimposed position along a portion of the outer surface of said shell and having a free tab end,
and a folded flexible shear seal with opposite ends and being spaced from said connecting fold and disposed beneath said closure panel flap and secured in folded relation with its opposite ends secured respectively to the under side of said flexible closure panel flap and to the outer surface of said shell.
2. An envelope according to claim 1,
said flexible shear seal being a sheet of frangible bonded fibers. 3. An envelope according to claim 2,
said flexible shear seal being secured on one face thereof to both the under surface of said closure flap and the outer surface of said shell.
4. An envelope according to claim 3,
said shell and said closure panel flap being integral and formed of a frangible bonded fiber mat,
and said seal being bonded to said frangible bonded fiber mat shell and closure flap sufficiently securely that surface removal of said seal from its bonded relation with said frangible bonded fiber mat will result in at least noticeable disruption of the surface and possible rupture or tearing of said mat.
5. An envelope according to claim 4,
said mat being a sheet of paper, and said seal being a slip of paper folded along a single medial fold and adhesively bonded at opposite ends thereof to the undersurface of said flap and the interfacing outer surface of said shell.
6. An envelope according to claim 1,
said free tab end of said flap being substantially reverse folded about said shell to a superimposed position facing a further substantially reverse folded outer surface portion of said shell.
7. An envelope package according to claim 4,
and a further folded sterile article wrapper of sterilizable material disposed within said shell,
said shell having an inner surface forming a sterile field for said sterile article wrapper.
8. An envelope package according to claim 5,
a further folded sterile article wrapper disposed within said shell,
and a sterile article within said wrapper,
said shell having an inner surface forming a sterile field for said sterile article wrapper.
9. An envelope according to claim 8,
said shell comprising a folded sheet,
said folded article wrapper being disposed within said inner surface sterile field in the unfolded configuration of said shell sheet.
10. An envelope according to claim 9,
said folded article wrapper being diagonally disposed within the outer unfolded configuration of said shell sheet.
11. An envelope according to claim 10,
said article wrapper being within the field of said shell sheet when the latter is unfolded.
12. A container comprising a main body portion forming a chamber,
a flexible closure flap connected with said main body portion through a fold therebetween,
and a medially folded frangible shear seal having opposite ends on either side of said medial fold and being disposed beneath said closure flap and having its opposite ends secured in interfacing relationship, on each side of its medial fold, respectively to the interfacing surfaces of each of said closure flap and said main body portion,
said interfacing surfaces being formed respectively by an inner facing surface of said closure flap and an outer surface of said main body portion,
said shear seal being laterally spaced from said fold connecting said closure flap and said main body portion.
l3 A container according to cl 'm 12, said shear seal being formed 0 paper and destructively removably bonded to said main body portion and said closure flap.
14. A container according to claim 13,
said closure flap and said interfacing surface of said main body portion being formed of frangible material which is of less strength at the zone of securing thereof to said seal than is the bond therebetween with said seal, whereby normal inadvertent or purposeful removal of said seal will rupture one or more of said seal, said main body portion surface or said flap.
15. A container according to claim 14,
said shear seal having a pressure sensitive bonding adhesive on its securing surface and in said securing relation with said main body portion surface and the undersurface of said closure flap.
16. A container according to claim 12,
said medial fold and the opposite ends of said shear seal being laterally spaced from and facing other than toward said fold between said closure flap and said main body portion.
17. A container according to claim 16,
said shear seal medial fold and the opposite ends of said shear seal facing away from said fold between said closure flap and said main body portion.
18. An envelope according to claim 1,
the fold and opposite ends of said shear seal facing other than toward the fold zone between said closure panel flap and said shell.
19. An envelope according to claim 1,
and the fold of said shear seal facing away from the fold between said shell and said closure flap.
Patent .No. 5,680,772
Da ted August 1, 1972 Inventor(s) Robert B. Hoover It is certified thaterror appears in the above-identified patent andfthat said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
Columnl; line 5, "sue" should be use Column 3,
line 21, after "other", insert bonding line 61 fafter "surgical", insert article Column 4, line 42',
"13g" should be 13b Signed and sealed this 8th day of Ma 19 73 E Attest:
EDWARD M.FLETCH ER,JR.V l I ROBERT GOTTS CHALK Attest ing Officer v Commissioner of Patents FORM PO'WSO (10'69) USCOMM-DC 60376-P69 V U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE? 959 O3fi5'334l