US 3682366 A
A composite package having three separably connected containers. The containers are initially formed integrally as receptacles in a base sheet of a self-supporting plastic material, each receptacle being open at its upper end and closed at the bottom. A cover sheet is bonded to the upper face of the base sheet to overlie the open ends of the receptacles. The cover sheet is formed with small product dispensing apertures which register with the open ends of the receptacles. In one embodiment the cover sheet is also formed with a vent opening for one of the receptacles. A peelable top sheet is applied over the cover sheet to cover the dispensing openings and complete the containers. The three sheets are severed in a predetermined manner and along predetermined lines between the receptacles to facilitate separation of the containers from one another and to provide tabs which connect the containers to form a composite package. The tabs also facilitate peeling of the top sheet from the cover sheet when it is desired to dispense the product. The receptacles are filled with product through the open upper ends thereof before the cover sheet is applied thereto.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States I Patent Chung 1 Aug. 8, 1972  Assignee: International Automated Machines,
Inc., Perrysburg, Ohio  Filed: Aug. 14, 1970  Appl.No.: 63,821
Belgium.... ..229/7 R Primary Examiner-Leonard Summer AtromeyBarnes, Kisselle, Raisch & Choate  v ABSTRACT A composite package having three separably connected containers. The containers are initially formed integrally as receptacles in a base sheet of a self-supporting plastic material, each receptacle being open at its upper end and closed at the bottom. A cover sheet is bonded to the upper face of the base sheet to overlie the open ends of the receptacles. The cover sheet is formed with small product dispensing apertures which register with the open ends of the receptacles. In one embodiment the cover sheet is also formed with a vent opening for one of the receptacles. A peelable top sheet is applied over the cover sheet to cover the dispensing openings and complete the containers. The three sheets are severed in a predetermined manner and along predetermined lines between the receptacles to facilitate separation of the containers from one another and to provide tabs which connect the containers to form a composite package. The tabs also facilitate peeling of the top sheet from the cover sheet when it is desired to dispense the product. The receptacles are filled with product through the open upper ends thereof before the cover sheet is applied thereto.
5 Claims, 20 Drawing Figures PATE'N'TEDAus 8 m2 3.682.366
sum 2 or 2 INVENTOR YUN HOON CHUNG ATTORNEYS SHAKER DISPENSER This invention relates to packages, particularly composite packages, which comprise a plurality of separable containers or receptacles from which product (such as salt, pepper, sugar, ketchup, etc.) is adapted to be dispensed and to the method of forming such packages.
More specifically, the invention encompasses a simple and inexpensive composite package consisting of several separably connected receptacles filled with food or other products which may be related in use or for some other reason. (Food products such as: salt, pepper and ketchup; sugar, cream and sugar substitute, etc., for example.) Composite packages of this type are admirably suited for institutional use such as in hospitals or on airlines or in cafeterias, where packages of such related food products are frequently served.
It is an object of this invention to provide a composite package which is of simple and attractive design, which can be manufactured economically and which is functionally ideally adapted for use, both from the standpoint of the ease with which the user can separate the receptacles and dispense the product therefrom and also from the standpoint of packaging a plurality of such composite packages together and dispensing the same such as from a magazine.
A further object of the invention resides in the provision of a method of forming such composite packages which lends itself to low cost, high speed production.
Other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following description and drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a plan view showing the progressive steps 7 employed in forming the composite package of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the completely formed package.
FIG. 3 is a plan view of one of the containers of the composite package separated from the remaining containers.
FIG. 4 is a plan view of the container shown in FIG. 3 with the top sheet removed to expose the product dispensing openings.
FIG. 5 is a plan view of another of the containers shown in FIG. 2 separated from the remaining containers.
FIG. 6 is a plan view of the container shown in FIG. 5 with the top sheet removed to expose the product dispensing opening.
FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing the manner in which the top sheet on the container shown in FIG. 3 is removed for dispensing the product.
FIG. 8 is a sectional view along the line 8-8 in FIG. 2.
FIGS. 9 and 10 are end and side elevational views of a stack of composite packages shown in FIG. 2 banded together for shipment or for use in a dispensing magazine.
FIG. 11 is a fragmentary plan view on a reduced scale of the banding strip utilized for banding the packages together in the manner shown in FIGS. 9 and FIG. 12 is a view similar to FIG. 1 showing a modified method of forming a composite package according to the present invention. 1
FIG. 13 is a plan view of a composite package formed in accordance with the method illustrated in FIG. 12.
FIGS. 14, 15 and 16 are plan views of each of the containers shown in FIG. 13 separated from the remaining containers.
FIG. 17 is a sectional view along the line 17-17 in FIG. 16.
FIGS. 18, 19 and 20 are perspective views showing the manner in which the top sheet on each of the con tainers shown in FIG. 13 is removed for dispensing product from the respective containers.
Referring to FIGS. 1 through 8, the composite package of the present invention, generally designated 10, and the method of forming such package are illustrated. Package 10, generally speaking, comprises three individual containers such as two smaller salt and pepper shakers 12 and 14 and a larger container 16 for sugar, ketchup, mustard, etc. In the embodiment illustrated containers 12 and 14 are of the same shape and include a side wall 18, a bottom wall 20 and an outwardly extending peripheral lip 22 around the upper open end thereof. Container 16 is likewise provided with a side wall 24 which is generally trough shaped at one end thereof as at 26, a bottom wall 28 and a peripheral lip 30 around the upper open end thereof.
The manner in which the composite package 10 is formed is generally illustrated in FIG. 1 which shows the progressive steps in the formation of the package. Initially a base sheet of plastic material 32 of suitable width and of continuous strip form is formed with cavities or pockets 34, 36, and 38. These pockets eventually form the receptacles of containers 12, 14 and 16, respectively. Base sheet 32 is formed of a self-supporting or semi-rigid plastic material and pockets 34, 36, 38 are formed therein by any suitable means, such as a vacuum forming process. The pockets are formed in base sheet 32 in groups of three as illustrated and each group of pockets is spaced from the adjacent group of pockets in a predetermined manner as illustrated in FIG. 1.
After the pockets are formed in base sheet 32 the sheet is advanced to a first station designated A in FIG. 1 where each of the pockets or receptacles is filled with a selected product through its open upper end. For example, receptacle 34 may be filled with salt, receptacle 36 filled with pepper, and receptacle 38 filled with sugar, mustard or ketchup.
The base sheet 32 is then advanced to a successive station B where a cover sheet 40 is applied over and bonded to base sheet 32. Cover sheet 40 may be in the form of a thin plastic film or other sealable flexible sheet material such as a plastic-coated paper and is bonded to base sheet 32 such as by heat sealing around the portion surrounding receptacles 34, 36, 38. Cover sheet 40 is formed with a plurality of successive openings 42 therein which are spaced apart lengthwise of sheet 40 so as to register with the trough-shaped end wall portion 26 of each receptacle 38. Cover sheet 40 is also provided with two groups of small apertures 44 which register with theupper open ends of receptacles 34 and 36. I
After cover sheet 40 is bonded to base sheet 32 as indicated at station B IN FIG. 1 the bonded sheets are advanced to a successive station C where they are subjected to a die cutting operation. As illustrated, both sheets 32 and 40 are die out along angled lines 48, 48 50, 50'. The adjacent ends of die cut lines 48, 48' and the adjacent ends of die cut lines 50, 50 are preferably, but not necessarily, spaced slightly apart as indicated at 49. As is apparent from FIG. 1, the severing line 48, 48 extends between receptacle 34 and receptacle 38 and severing line 50, 50 extends between receptacle 38 and receptacle 36. At station C the bonded sheets are also provided with two generally V-shaped severing lines 51 adjacent, but spaced from, the trough-shaped end of receptacle 38.
After the die cutting operation illustrated at station C in FIG. 1 the composite sheet is advanced to a successive station D where a top sheet 52 is applied to cover sheet 40 and is bonded thereto. Top sheet 52 is preferably in the form of a short narrow strip dimensioned in width to overlie the product dispensing openings 42, 44 on each of the receptacles and is dimensioned in length to span all three receptacles. Top sheet 52 can be a thin pressure sensitive adhesive strip of paper, metal foil or plastic film depending primarily on the products being packaged and the manufacturers preference. Top sheet 52 is bonded to cover sheet 40 so as to be readily peelable therefrom. The bond between top sheet 52 can be effected by any suitable bonding operation which enables the top sheet to be readily peelable from cover sheet 40. Top sheet 52 preferably has a pressure sensitive adhesive applied to the bottom face thereof. In any event, in the arrangement illustrated the bond between sheets 40 and 52 is substantially more readily separable than the bond between sheets 32 and 40. Prior to its application to cover sheet 40 top sheet 52 is slitted along the spaced lines 54, 56. The severed lines 54, 56 generally overlie that portion of the composite package which comprises container 38.
The final step in the formation of the composite package is shown at the next successive station E in FIG. 1. At station E all three sheets are die cut to provide the desired outline configuration of the composite package. In the arrangement illustrated the straight edge 58 common to all three containers is spaced slightly beyond the adjacent straight edge 60 of top sheet 52. If desired top sheet 52 can be dimensioned in width and located so that its one edge extends beyond edge 58 so that edge 58 would define a straight edge on each of the three sheets comprising the package. Since receptacle 38 is dimensioned lengthwise greater than receptacles 34, 36, the edge of the composite package defining the end of receptacle 38 opposite the trough 26 defines a central lug 62 which projects outwardly beyond the adjacent ends of receptacles 34, 36.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 it will be observed that severing lines 48, 48', 50, 50 extend to edge portions of the composite package. It is therefore, apparent that container 12 is joined to container 16 by the short gap 49 between slits 48, 48' and by the portion of top sheet 52 between slits 48, 54 which is bonded to cover sheet 40. Likewise, container 14 is connected to container 16 by the short gap at 49 between slits 50, 50 and between slits 56, 50 by the bond between cover sheet 40 and top sheet 52. The self-supporting nature of the composite package is enhanced by the fact that severing line 48, 50 are angled or curved (as distinguished from being straight lines) and thus the tendency for containers 12 and 14 to bend or sag along these severing lines 48, 50 is minimized.
It is contemplated that the user will receive the composite package 10in the form illustrated in FIG. 2 and that he will be able to selectively dispense the contents of each of the containers 12, 14, 16. To dispense the contents of containers 12 or 14 it is merely necessary for the user to peel these containers upwardly from the portion of the composite package defining container 12. Thus, top sheet 52 is peeled from cover sheet 40 at the portion thereof between slits 48, 54 in the case of container 12 and between slits 50, 56 in the case of container 14. Separation of the containers is completed by tearing across the small gaps 49. When container 12 is separated from the composite package it will have the appearance shown in FIG. 3. When thus separated the portion of top sheet 52 between slits 48, 54 provides a lift tab 66 which facilitates peeling top sheet 52 from the container so as to expose the dispensing apertures 44. The manner in which top sheet 52 is peeled from cover sheet 40 by means of lift tab 66 is illustrated in FIG. 7. After the strip of top sheet is removed from the container, the product in the container can be dispensed in a manner similar to which the ordinary salt or pepper shaker is used.
The portion of top sheet 52 overlying the V-shaped notches 51 is adhered to the underlying layers of base sheet 32 and cover sheet 40. These overlapping portions provide pull tabs 68 for facilitating peeling top sheet 52 from container 16. Thus, if it is desired to dispense the product from within container 16, top sheet 52 is peeled from cover sheet 40 by gripping either of the lift tabs 68 so as to expose opening 22. It will be observed that the strip of top sheet overlying each of the containers is sufficiently small in size so that after removal from the container to uncover the dispensing openings therein the strip of top sheet can be adhered to the top of the container in a position leaving the dispensing openings exposed to thus preserve the strip of top sheet for re-application over the dispensing openings to reseal the container if desired.
FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate the manner in which a plurality of composite packages of the type shown in FIG. 2 can be stacked vertically and secured together either for shipment or for insertion into a magazine for dispensing the composite packages. After the composite packages are vertically stacked one upon the other a paper or other suitable band 70 may be wrapped around the vertical stack of packages. Band 70 is provided in the form of a continuous strip having elongate rectangular openings 72 therein for accommodating the lug-forming portions 62 of container 16. With the lug portions 62 projecting through opening 72 the narrow bands 74 along the longitudinal side edges of opening 72 are adapted to engage the edges 76 of stacked containers l2 and 14 while the imperforate portions 78 of the band are adapted to wrap around the upper and lower ends of the stacked packages and the side thereof defined by the straight edges 58.
The composite package shown in FIGS. 12 through 20 and generally designated 80 is similar to the composite package shown in FIG. 2 except for the structural features resulting from the fact that the two smaller containers 82, 84 are positioned adjacent one another and the larger container 86 is disposed edgewise at one side of container 84. Thus in the base sheet 32 receptacles 88 and 90 are formed side by side in spaced relation and receptacle 92 is formed adjacent one edge of base sheet 32 with an inclined pouring spout 94 at one end thereof. Receptacles 88, 90, 92 are of the same dimension in a direction lengthwise of sheet 32 but receptacle 92 is larger than receptacles 88, 90 in a direction transversely of base sheet 32.
As in the previous embodiment illustrated, cover sheet 40 is formed with dispensing apertures 44 overlying the smaller receptacles 88, 90. Cover sheet 40 is formed with a product dispensing opening 96 overlying the pouring spout 94 of receptacle 92 and also with a vent opening 98 adjacent theopposite end of receptacle 92 and generally in line with openings 44 or at least at a portion of the coversheet over which the hereinafter referred to top sheet extends- As in the previous embodiment illustrated, base sheet 32 and cover sheet 40 are preferably formed from plastic film, base sheet 32 being semi-rigid, and the sheets are heat sealed together at station B.
At the next successive station C (as shown in FIG. 12) the two bonded sheets are subjected to a die cutting operation. Thus both sheets are angularly slitted at the angled lines 100, 100 and 102, 102. Lines 100, 100 and 102, 102' have their adjacent ends spaced apart slightly as at 104. Both sheets are additionally slitted along a line 106 which is spaced slightly beyond the opening 96 which overlies the pouring spout formation 94.
At station D the top sheet 108' is applied as in the previous embodiment disclosed. Top sheet 108 is preferably in the form of a narrow strip of plastic or paper with a pressure sensitive adhesive on one side thereof. Before application to the cover sheet 40 top sheet 108 is slitted as at 110 and 112. As indicated at station D in FIG. 12, slit 110 is spaced to the right of the underlying slit 100 and slit 1 12 is spaced to the right of slit 102 but slightly to the left of vent opening 98. At station E the outer periphery of the composite package is die cut to present the configuration shown at 80 in FIG. 13.
In the composite package containers 82 and 84 are held together by the small connection 104 and by the portion of top sheet 108 extending between lines 110 and 100. Likewise containers 84 and 86 are held together by the small connection 104 and by the portion of top sheet 108 extending between lines 102 and 112. These portions of top sheet 108 provide containers 82 and 84 with lift tabs 1 14 and 116, respectively. The lift tab 118 for container 86 is provided by the slit 106 at the comer of container 86 adjacent dispensing opening 96. In view of the fact that container 86 is provided with a vent opening 98 it is admirably suited for dispensing liquid materials, such as liquid sauces and dressings, in a convenient manner readily controllable by the user.
1. A'shaker dispenser comprising a single imperforate sheet of self-supporting film material shaped to present a central cavity forming a receptacle which is open at its upper end and having an'integral laterally eir iifi ?%%i a%fe?%i%i i1i? v%i? l3g S8 23 end of the receptacle and securely bonded around the outer edge portions thereof to said flange so as to be incapable of being readily peeled therefrom, said cover sheet having a product-dispensing opening therein which registers with said receptacle but which is relatively small in comparison with the size of the open end of the receptacle and a top sheet bonded to said cover sheet and covering said dispensing opening, said top sheet being bonded to the cover sheet so as to be readily separable therefrom by peeling to expose said dispensing opening, said top sheet extending to an edge portion. of the cover sheet which is bonded to the peripheral flange, said top sheet being readily peelable from the cover sheet without disturbing the bond between the cover sheet and said flange.
2. A shaker dispenser as called for in claim 1 wherein the cover and top sheets have superposed edge portions which are coterrninous and define a pull tab for peeling the top sheet from the cover sheet to expose said dispensing opening, the portion of the cover sheet forming said tab being separated from the remaining portion of the top sheet by a line of weakening so that the last-mentioned tab portion is connected to the remainder of the cover sheet by the top sheet.
3. A shaker dispenser as called for in claim 1 wherein said flange and cover and top sheets have superposed edge portions which are coterrninous and define a pull tab for peeling the top sheet from the cover sheet to expose said dispensing opening, the portions of said flange and cover sheet forming said tab being separated from the remaining portions of the flange and cover sheet by a line of weakening so that said tab portions are connected to the remaining portions of the flange and cover sheet by said top sheet.
4. A shaker dispenser as called for in claim 3 wherein said line of weakening in said flange registers with the line of weakening in the cover sheet.
5. A shaker dispenser as called for in claim 3 wherein the cover sheet is secured to said flange by a heat sealed bond and the top sheet is provided with a coating of pressure sensitive adhesive on the underside thereof to secure it to the top face of the cover sheet.