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Publication numberUS3721336 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 20, 1973
Filing dateSep 4, 1970
Priority dateSep 4, 1970
Publication numberUS 3721336 A, US 3721336A, US-A-3721336, US3721336 A, US3721336A
InventorsJ Hannon
Original AssigneeDiversified Packaging Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Easy opening packages
US 3721336 A
Abstract
A package comprises a base member having an article disposed on one surface thereof with a film of thermoplastic material covering the article and bonded to the surface of the base member thereabout. A tab of material that is nonadherent to the base member and adherent to the film is interposed therebetween at an edge of the package, to provide an integral package that is readily opened when desired by pulling the tab towards the article to separate the film from the base member.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent 91 Hannon 1March 20, 1973 EASY OPENING PACKAGES [75] Inventor: James V. Hannon, New Britain,

Conn.

[73] Assignee: Diversified Packaging Incorporated, Kensington, Conn.

[22] Filed: Sept. 4, 1970 [21] Appl. No.: 69,671

[52] US. Cl ..206/56 AB, 206/80 A [51 Int. Cl. ..B65d 73/00 [58] Field of Search ..206/56 AB, 80 A, DIG. 29

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,876,899 3/1959 Mayanrd, Jr. ..206/8O A 3,202,278 8/1965 2,760,630 8/1956 Lakso ..206/56 AA FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,001,226 10/1951 France ..206/56 AB Primary Examiner-Leonard Summer Attorney-Peter, L. Costas [57] ABSTRACT A package comprises a base member having an article disposed on one surface thereof with a film of thermoplastic material covering the article and bonded to the surface of the base member thereabout. A tab of material that is nonadherent to the base member and adherent to the film is interposed therebetween at an edge of the package, to provide an integral package that is readily opened when desired by pulling the tab towards the article to separate the film from the base member.

8 Claims, 7 Drawing Figures PATEHWUmzoms 7 1, 35

SHEET 2 BF 2 Inventor (/a mes l Hanna/1 By fi tfad/m/ A Howey EASY OPENING PACKAGES BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In recent years, skin packages for merchandise have become increasingly popular and are now in widespread use. These packages normally consist of a substrate or base member, generally fabricated of paperboard or the like, on the upper surface of which is supported the article of merchandise. A thin sheet or film of thermoplastic polymer (normally transparent) covers the article and is bonded tliereabout to the upper surface of the base member.

Such packages are particularly advantageous from a merchandising standpoint because the articles so packaged are easy to handle, are visible and are protected againstdamage, loss, and contamination from the time that they leave the manufacturer until they reach the ultimate consumer. At the same time, the articles are attractively displayed for visual inspection by the prospective purchaser, thus enhancing sales, and a desirable level of economy is achieved through the use of relatively thin gauge films and by taking advantage of relatively simple and fast fabrication techniques and equipment. Moreover, such packaging is now widely employed for industrial and commercial applications as a means of inventory control and safe transport.

To attain the greatest benefit from packages of this type, it is essential that the plastic film be securely bonded to the base member about the article, in a laminar relationship. Although adhesive coatings are sometimes employed, preferably the film is bonded by its own substance to a porous paperboard base member, with a portion of the film extending into the pores of the base member to form a paper-tearing bond therewith. However, since the film is normally coextensive with the base or card supporting the article and is sealed about the entire periphery thereof, the tenacity of the bond renders it difficult to initiate delamination of the film and base so as to obtain access to the article. Thus, it is difficult to separate the film from the base member at an edge to grip it in the first instance; even if one is successful in doing so, the gripped portion has a great tendency to tear away from the main part of the film rather than to separate from the base due to the concentration of forces at a limited area of the film. Tearing of the film can be reduced or eliminated as a problem by use of s'ufficiently heavy gauge or tough thermoplastics, but each of these options may increase cost and is therefore not very desirable. Another possible solution is to design the package for access by destruction of the base, but this usually requires tearing of both the base and the film, it may tend to damage the packaged article, and it may cause obliteration of instructions or other information that may be printed thereon.

Accordingly, it is the principal object of the present invention to provide a secure package for an article of merchandise, including a covering film of thermoplastic material bonded to a base member about the article therewithin, which package may be readily opened when desired to obtain access to the article.

It is also an object of the invention to provide such a package wherein access is afforded by facile delamination of the thermoplastic film and base.

Another object is to provide such a package wherein an aperture for hanging thereof may be reinforced.

Still another object is to provide a relatively facile and inexpensive method of packaging an article to produce a package having the foregoing advantages.

A further object of the invention is to provide a method whereby a plurality of articles can be packaged in a master assembly which is subsequently divided into easily openable, independent packages, each having the foregoing advantages.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It has now been found that the foregoing and related objects can be readily attained in a package comprising a base member and an article of merchandise disposed on one surface inwardly of the margins thereof. A tab is disposed in substantially non-adherent, direct contact on the surface of the base member, and it has one edge in substantial alignment with an edge of the base member. A covering of thermoplastic film overlying the base member and forming a sheath about the article is bonded to the tab and to the base member over substantially the entire area of contact therebetween. Access to the article is obtained by lifting the tab away from the base member and pulling it toward the article to at least partially remove the film from the main body of the base member.

In the preferred embodiments, the base member has a substantially rectangular configuration, and it may be elongated with the previously-mentioned edge located at one of the shorter edges thereof. In such a case the tab also desirably has an elongated rectangular configuration, and is dimensioned to extend substantially across the base member but to terminate inwardly of the longer edges thereof.

Alternatively, the tab may have two side edges intersecting substantially at a right angle, and the portion of the base member overlain thereby may be adjacent a corner thereof defined by two intersecting edges; as a result, the corner defined by the intersecting edges of the tab is substantially coincident with the comer of the base member. In such a case, the tab desirably has an aperture extending therethrough, through which the covering film is bonded to the base member to secure the tab thereagainst. Regardless of the configuration of the tab, the portions of the base member and covering film corresponding thereto may also have aligned apertures formed therethrough to provide a hang hole for hanging the package upon an appropriate support member.

Most desirably, the base member and tab are each fabricated of a porous paperboard material, and the thermoplastic material of the covering film is bonded thereto by its own substance. The thermoplastic material may be a surface-treated polyolefin, and a portion of the covering film desirably extends into the pores of the base member throughout the exposed surface area to form a paper-tearing bond therewith. It is particularly preferred that the material of the film be polyethylene, and that it have a thickness of about 3 to l l mils. The invention also encompasses a package assembly divisible into a plurality of individual packages, each containing at least one article of merchandise.

Certain objects of the invention are readily attained in a method of forming a package containing a sealed article of merchandise, wherein the article is disposed on one surface of a base member inwardly of the margins thereof. A tab is also disposed thereon in substantially noneadherent contact, with an edge thereof in substantial alignment with an edge of the base member. The base member, article and tab are covered with a thermoplastic film, and the film is bonded to the tab and to the base member over substantially the entire area of contact th'erebetween.

Preferably, the base member and tab are fabricated from a porous paperboard material and the thermoplastic material of the covering film is adherent thereto by its own substance. Most desirably, the thermoplastic material is deformable and adherent to the base member at an elevated temperature above ambient. In such a case, the covering step is effected by placing a film of the thermoplastic material over the article and base member, heating the film to such an elevated temperature, and applying a vacuum to the underside of the base member to draw the film into a sheath about the article and into laminar contact with the tab and substantially the entire area of the surface of the base member outwardly of the margins of the article. The film is thereby bonded to the tab and base member upon contact therewith.

The film may be a polyolefin that has its adjacent surface treated for activation by heat. The base and tab members may be fabricated from porous paperboard, so that the vacuum draws portions of the treated surface of the film into the pores of the paperboard to form a paper-tearing bond therewith. As another possibility, the film may be a molten extrudate for direct application onto the article, tab, and base member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a package embodying the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view of the package of FIG. 1 along line 2--2 thereof and drawn to a slightly enlarged scale;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the same package along line 3--3 in FIG. 1 and drawn to a slightly enlarged scale;

FIG. 4 is a fragmentary, exploded, perspective view of the access end of the package, drawn to a slightly diminished scale, prior to application of the film and showing the tab displaced above the base member;

FIG. 5 is an exploded perspective view of a packaging assembly of a single base member, a plurality of articles, and a fragmentarily illustrated overlying film, from which a multiplicity of packages are produced;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary perspective view of the tab corners of. two packages produced from the assembly of FIG. 5, drawn to a greatly enlarged scale; and

FIG. 7 is a fragmentary sectional view of the tab corner of one of the packages shown in FIG. 6 along line 7-7 thereof. I

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE ILLUSTRATED EMBODIMENTS Turning now in detail to FIGS. 1 4 of the appended drawings, therein illustrated is a package embodying the present invention and comprising a rectangular paperboard base or substrate 10 having an article 12 supported inwardly of the edges thereof. A narrow rectangular paperboard tab or tear strip 14 is posi tioned on the base 10 with one of its longer edges 16 flush or extending in alignment, with one of the narrow edges 18 of the base 10. A film 20 of a transparent synthetic thermoplastic polymer is bonded coextensively to the upper surface of the base 10 over substantially all of the area thereof not blocked by the article 12 and the tab 14. The film 20 is bonded to the tab 14,

and it provides a protective cover or sheath for the article 12, enclosing it in cooperation with the base 10.

Since the base 10 and tab 14 are made of paperboard and are not bonded to one another they separate readily, so that lifting of the tab 14 will initiate delamination of the film 20 from the base 10 to allow access to the article 12. As is best seen in FIG. 3, the tab 14 is preferably somewhat shorter than the width of the base 10 to permit the film 20 to bond to the base 10 along the entire length of the marginal portions adjacent the long edges 22 thereof. This ensures the integrity of the package and substantially prevents inadvertent opening such as would tend to occur if the tab 14 extended to the edges 22 and, as a result, was hingedly joined to the base 10. On the other hand, the areas of bonding adjacent the ends of the tab 14 along the marginal portions adjacent the edges 22 of the base 10 are relatively small to provide only a desirable level of resistance to' delamination, so that when the tab 14 is lifted to open the package delamination rather than tearing of the film 20 occurs. For this reason, it is also desirable to position the tab 14 adjacent the narrower end of a rectangular base 10, rather than adjacent one of the edges 22. The package has a subsequently formed aperture or perforation 24 which extends through the tab 14 and corresponding portions of the base member 10 and covering film 20, by which the package may be hung upon a suitable support for display or storage. The tab 14 thereby provides not only a grip for opening the package, but it also reinforces the aperture 24 in a desirable manner.

Turning now in detail to FIG. 5 of the drawings, a packaging or master assembly is illustrated, from which may be produced a multiplicity of packages. The assembly comprises a rectangular planar base member 26 with eight printed or decorated areas 28 thereon, a number of articles 30 (only two of which are shown) for individual packaging in spaced relationship within the individual decorated areas 28, two types of tab members 32, 32', and a film 34 of transparent synthetic thermoplastic polymer. The latter is dimensioned to provide coextensive lamination to the base member 26 and is fragmentarily illustrated to expose the underlying elements of the assembly, The same types of materials and general production techniques that may be employed to produce the package of FIGS. 1 4 may be used in producing the assembly of FIG. 5; however in thisinstance two or four packages ultimately produced share a common tab member in the initial stage of production.

The boundaries of the packages are generally defined by the individual areas 28. As can be seen, the elongated tab members 32 are placed so that they each overlie two adjacent areas 28, in simple mirror image fashion, and the square tab member 32 is placed in a position overlying adjacent corners of four of the areas 28, in a perpendicular double mirror image arrangement. After bonding of the film 34 to the upper surface of the base member 26, individual packages can be formed either by punching them out of the assembly along the borders of the areas 28, or by cutting the assembly into eight pieces along lines therebetween. In either case, four packages of the same type as that described in FIGS. 1 4 will result from the portions associated with the two elongated tab members 32.

As can best be seen by reference to FIGS. 6 and 7, each of the packages that results from use of a tab member 32 in the manner depicted in FIG. 5, has a triangular opening tab 36 at one of its comers. The tab member 32' is provided with four small apertures 38, which are arranged so that one of them is present in each of the tabs 36 after the assembly is divided into individual packages. The film 34 bonds directly to the base member 26 through each of the apertures 38, thereby preventing hinging of the tabs 36 and reducing the possibility of inadvertent delamination. Although the corner tab packages may be more facile and inexpensive to produce than the end tab type, since fewer tab members are employed, the latter are advantageous in more readily providing a substantial area of reinforcement and thereby affording a more secure grip and a diminished potential for tearing to occur in the film 34. In an assembly of the type shown in FIG. 5, the arrangement of the printed areas 28 will normally be such as will produce individual packages of similar appearance, and it will be appreciated that one assembly designed to produce two different types of packages is illustrated primarily in the interest of economy of description, and would not constitute the most usual case.

The choice of materials utilized for the base member and covering film will normally be interdependent since they must cooperate in an appropriate manner to form the ultimate package. Although the concept of the present invention may be applicable to packages in which the covering film is adhesively secured to. the base member by a coating of adhesive thereon, in many instances the value of the article offered for sale and any resultant advantage do not warrant the expense involved in such a technique. In addition the possibility of blocking of the adhesive generally presents a concern. Accordingly, the present concept is particularly advantageously applied to packages in which the substance of the film itself provides the bond with the substrate. An especially beneficial technique of this type is that described and claimed in Kraut US. Pat. No. 3,031,072, granted Apr. 24, 1962.

In self-bonding techniques, the base member is desirably formed of a substantially imperforate, porous paperboard stock which is of sufficient rigidity for the packaging application, and which will permit a vacuum to be drawn through the pores substantially uniformly throughout the area of laminar contact of the film covering. As used herein, the term substantially imperforate" refers to such an essentially imperforate but porous paperboard substrate; it does not exclude incidental perforations or apertures such as are used in the art for the purpose of hanging the package for storage and display.

The paperboard stock utilized is desirably free of any coating of adhesive or thermoplastic material, and it is preferably only lightly calendered so as to preserve its inherently porous, gas-permeable nature. A suitable paperboard stock, for example, is the type known in the trade as patent coated", which stock has a face or top layer composed essentially of virgin 'pulp and high grade waste free of ground wood, and presenting an attractive finish and appearance. In the event a colored background or base color is to be used, which is frequently the case, it is preferred to select a paperboard which has been vat-dyed with the desired color during its manufacture. Moreover, when the paperboard is pr'inted, it is important to employ an ink that will not interfere with the bonding process, a number of which are commercially available.

A covering web or sheath that is suitable for use with such a base member is provided by a plastic film or sheet material which can be readily deformed when subjected to heat and air pressure (normally a vacuum), and which can preferably be bonded to the base member by its own substance without the use of adhesives or bonding agents. The covering sheath may also be advantageously applied by the so-called flowform technique, wherein a molten thermoplastic film is draped directly from an extruder head to cover the articles and the base. As employed herein, the term molten" also includes semi-molten extrudates, which may contain a proportion of solvent for the thermoplastic material. To provide a most suitable package, the thermoplastic film should be transparent, relatively tough, and durable, and should be capable of producing a final package that is substantially free from webbing. Certain polyolefin films are particularly well suited for such use, and generally they are characterized by having at least one surface that is more susceptible to heat activation for sealing to the paperboard than is the body of the film. Susceptibility to heat activation is generally considered to be the result of oxidation of the molecules on the surface and/or molecular weight reduction thereof, and treatments commonly employed to render polyolefin films susceptible to printing with ink have proven effective for this purpose. Although electrical discharge and irradiation are particularly suitable techniques for such treatment, the surface oxidation occurring during certain processes wherein the film is extruded onto a chill member provides a surface of the desired nature. As an exemplary case, polyolefin films should have a thickness of about 3 to 11, and preferably about 4 to 7 mils, depending upon the degree of distension required to form a sheath about the article. Although polyethylene normally proves most advantageous, polypropylene may also be employed for the film; in either case, the film should be substantially free from orientation and should contain no additives which might migrate to the surface and interfere with the bonding operation.

The so-called -ionomer films, which are polyolefins containing small amounts of polar monomer components, are generally considered equivalent to the conventional surface-treated polyolefins. The polar constituents at the surface apparently function in the same fashion as the polymer product resulting from surface treatment, so that the surface portion becomes molten while the integrity of the body of the film is maintained substantially. Other types of thermoplastics are also suitable and are therefore considered to be fully within the scope of the present invention. Exemplary of such other thermoplastics are cellulose acetate, cellulose acetate-butyrate, vinyl chloride, vinyl acetate, etc.

As regards the specific equipment utilized to carry out the present method, it may be conventional and of any suitable design known in the art. For example, the apparatus and techniques described in the aforementioned Kraut US. Pat. No. 3,031,072 for producing a package without use of any added adhesive, may be utilized for the present purposes. Regardless of whether or not an adhesive is used in the practice of the invention and irrespective of the particular substrate, the film will normally and desirably form a paper-tearing bond therewith; i.e., the bond between the upper surface of the base member and the film should be strong enough so that the film will tend to carry with it the upper surface of the base member upon removal from the main body thereof.

As regards the tab that is interposed between the covering film and the base member, its particular con figuration is not critical to the present concept, but it is important that it have an edge that extends in substantial alignment with an edge of the base member. If all parts of the tab lie inwardly of the edges, the covering film would surround the tab and thereby frustrate the objectives of the invention. On the other hand, if the tab extends outwardly a substantial distance beyond the edges of the base member there would be a ten dency for inadvertent lifting of the tab from the base member, and consequently a tendency for the package to be opened prematurely.

Normally, the base member will be rectangular and, in such a case, the tab may desirably have either the elongated rectangular or the triangular configuration shown in the drawings. However, depending upon the configuration of the particular base member involved, the configuration of the tab may be varied as appropriate and suitable modifications may occur to those skilled in the art. As long as the tab provides an edge portion that is substantially coincident with an edge of the base member and has sufficient structural characteristics to provide a good grip for opening the package, virtually any design may be employed.

The tab, like the base member, will desirably be fabricated of a paperboard-type material since, in addition to the cost factor, such a material has the advantage of providing a surface to which the coating film readily adheres. However, other types of materials may be used, and tabs made of foil, plastic, paper, or the like may be advantageous in some instances. In any event, it is important that the tab be made of a material that possesses the strength necessary to provide an adequate grip and to distribute the delaminating force over a substantial area of the film.

If an aperture is formed through the tab and corresponding portions of the covering film and base member such as is often provided for the purpose of hanging such packages for display and storage, the presence of the tab has the added benefit of providing reinforcement about the aperture. This may provide a significant reduction in the weight of substrate material that is necessary and thereby further enhancing the economics of the package. When a significant portion of the periphery of the tab is coincident with an edge of the base member and therefore is not bonded thereto by the film, it may be desirable to provide apertures in the tab through which the film may be bonded to the base member. This feature is illustrated in FIGS. 7 of the drawings, and may be employed in connection with configurations of tabs other than that shown. For example, the rectangular tabs illustrated in the drawings may be extended fully to the longer edges 22 of the base member 10, with one or more such apertures being provided along the length of the tab for bonding thereto.

Thus it can be seen that the present invention provides a secure package for an article of merchandise including a covering film of thermoplastic material bonded to a base member about the article therewithin, which package may be readily opened, when desired, to obtain access to the article. Such access may be afforded by delamination of the thermoplastic film and base, and the package may have an aperture for the support thereof which is inherently reinforced. The invention also provides a relatively facile and inexpensive method of packaging an article to produce a package having the desired advantages, and a plurality of articles may be packaged in an assembly which is subsequently divided into an easily openable, independent package for each article.

Having thus described the invention, I claim:

1. A packaging assembly divisible into a plurality of individual packages comprising: a base member; at least four articles of merchandise disposed in spaced relationship in a cluster about a point on one surface of said base member inwardly of the margins thereof, one of said clustered articles being disposed in each of four quadrants about said point; a substantially diamond shaped tab member disposed in substantially non-adherent, direct contact on said surface in a position overlying said point among said cluster of articles, a corner of said diamond shaped tab member extending between each adjoining two of said cluster of articles; and a covering of thermoplastic film overlying said base member, said articles and said tab member, said film being bonded to said base member over substantially the entire area of contact therebetween and being bonded to said tab member where said tab member is disposed in contact with said base member thereby forming a sheath about said articles, said film being detachable from said base member without destruction thereof through removal of said tab member from contacting relationship with said base member and peeling of said film by use thereof, said tab member being of sufficient strength when bonded to said film to permit its use as a grip for lifting and peeling said film.

2. The packaging assembly of claim 1 wherein said base member has a substantially rectangular configuration.

3. The packaging assembly of claim 1 wherein said tab member has an aperture formed therethrough adjacent and midway each of its side edges.

4. The packaging assembly of claim 1 wherein said covering film is bonded by its own substance to said base member.

5. The packaging assembly of claim 4 wherein said base member and said tab member are each fabricated of a porous paperboard material.

6. The packaging assembly of claim 5 wherein said thermoplastic film is a surface-treated polyolefin, and wherein said covering film is bonded to said base member with a portion thereof extending into said pores of the base member throughout said surface area to form a paper-tearing bond therewith.

7. The packaging assembly of claim 6 wherein said polyolefin film is a polyethylene film about 3 to l 1 mils in thickness.

8. The assembly of claim 1 wherein the thermoplastic material of said covering film is bonded by its own substance to said base member, and wherein said base member and tab member are each fabricated from a porous paperboard material.

Patent Citations
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US2248266 *Sep 25, 1939Jul 8, 1941Abrams William CPackage
US2260064 *Aug 16, 1939Oct 21, 1941Stokes & Smith CoMethod of making containers
US2760630 *Dec 8, 1954Aug 28, 1956Sterling Drug IncFoil covered ampoule
US2876899 *Jun 17, 1957Mar 10, 1959Spencer Hughes CorpMerchandise package
US3202278 *May 8, 1962Aug 24, 1965Ncr CoArticle package and method of making the same
US3209906 *Jan 8, 1964Oct 5, 1965Stanley WorksSkin-packaged article
FR1001226A * Title not available
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4191293 *Aug 9, 1978Mar 4, 1980Newman Morris MBlister package
US5775505 *Feb 27, 1996Jul 7, 1998Vasquez; William M.Blister card package
US20080296176 *Jun 4, 2007Dec 4, 2008Elisabeth DickinsonPackaging For A Heart Rate Watch
EP0744354A1 *May 21, 1996Nov 27, 1996Centre Europe Conditionnement C.E.C.Vacuum skin package
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/461, 206/820
International ClassificationB65D75/30, B65D75/54
Cooperative ClassificationY10S206/82, B65D75/305, B65D75/54
European ClassificationB65D75/54, B65D75/30B