US 3730421 A
A strip of thin sheet closure material of length sufficient to encompass the flattened mouth portion of a packaging container has formed therein a longitudinal hinge break line comprising a crease or serration. A narrow and thin opening tape is firmly bonded to the strip on one side of the break line and with its sharp inner edge closely adjacent the said line. The break facilitates accurate folding of the closure strip over and sealing it to the sides of the container mouth portion, while during subsequent opening the sharp edged tape readily ruptures the closure strip along the break line, at the same time removing a narrow ribbon of the closure material on one side of the opening.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
w o 1 Med States Patent 1 1 3,73m42t Stanley 5] May 1, 1973 PACKAGE CLOSURE AND OPENING 3,194,483 7/1965 Alexandrou ..229/86 APPLIANCES 3,592,380 7/197] Gerard ..229/66  Inventor: Alexander J. Stanley, Milltown, NJ. Primary Examiner Davis T Moorhead  Assignee: Nabisco, Inc., New York, NY. A t meyl. Allen Strombeck  Filed: May 17, 1971 57 ABSTRACT PP -t 143,951 A strip of thin sheet closure material of length sufficient to encompass the flattened mouth portion of a 52 us. Cl. ..229/66 R, 229/51 5 Packaging miner has famed herein a  Int Cl B65d 33/00 hinge break line comprising a crease or serration. A H narrow and thin p g p is firmly bonded to the  Field of Search ..229/66,5l S, 86 Strip on one side of the break line and with its sharp inner edge closely adjacent the said line. The break  References C'ted facilitates accurate folding of the closure strip over UNITED STATES PATENTS and sealing it to the sides of the container mouth portion, while during subsequent opening the sharp edged 2,923,457 2/1960 Gerard ..229/66 tape readily ruptures the closure strip along the break ,872 7/1968 Ro ak-.. line, at the same time removing a narrow ribbon of the 484,372 l0/1892 Kohm closure material on one side of the opening. 2,699,286 1/1955 Geffory ..229/66 X 3,047,206 7/1962 Monaham et a] ..229/66 1 Claim, 5 Drawing Figures PACKAGE CLOSURE AND OPENING APPLIANCES The present application pertains to improvements in package closure and opening appliances, being particularly directed to the form of appliance produced by the apparatus set forth in co-pending application Ser. No. 143,95 I, filed May 17, 1971, of which the present application is a continuation-in-part. The present invention, adapted to be produced by means such as those disclosed in the aforesaid co-pending application, comprises in itself an improvement on closures of the general nature set forth in U.S. Pat. No. 3,047,206 to Monahan et al., which patent has common ownership by assignment with the present and noted co-pending applications. Briefly recapitulated, the type of closure unit disclosed in the above patent includes a closure strip adapted to be folded down over the mouth of a packaging container and secured to the side walls thereof; the closure strip has a rip cord or thread incorporated directly in and along its upper folding angle, a central notch being provided to permit an openers thumb and finger to grasp the cord. While closures embodying this construction have proved successful in use per se, certain factors hitherto inherent in construction have hindered realization of their use to maximum advantage. One such factor, in fact a prime one, has been the initial incorporation of the rip means directly-in the line upon which the closure strip is to be folded, in which line the closure material normally has retained its full thickness and resistance to rupture. To incorporate a rip means of sufficient strength to ensure a proper tear opening of such a structure has usually entailed either the use of a relatively thick cord or the like which can tend to interfere with desirably sharp and accurate bending at the fold angle, or alternatively, the
use of a fine thread adapted more easily to cut the closure material. Of these alternatives, the more successful in service has hitherto been the use of the thread. However, to assure against premature dislodgement, it has been found best to stitch the thread to the closure strip, a process which necessarily entails limited production speed with relatively high cost.
In view of the above and related factors, an object of the present invention is to provide an improved appliance in which the closure strip is so formed as to be readily and accurately folded independently of the opening means attached thereto.
Another object is to provide an appliance of the above type in which the closure strip is formed with a longitudinally indented or serrated folding break or hinge line, and in which the attached opening means has a thin or sharp cutting edge adapted to be located close to and directed at the break line when the appliance has been folded about the mouth of a container.
A further object is to provide an appliance of the above type in which the opening means comprises a thin tape flatly heat sealed on one side of but closely adjacent the break line.
Further objects and advantages of the invention will become evident during the course of the following description in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which FIG. 1 is a bottom face view of a preferred form of the appliance;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged cross sectional detail view, hatching being omitted for clarity in illustration of the thin elements involved;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the appliance folded over and secured to the mouth of a typical packaging container or bag;
FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of the same in the plane 4-4, FIG. 3, hatching again being omitted in the interest of clarity, and
FIG. 5 is a view illustrating the opening of the package by means of the sharp edged rip or cutting tape.
Referring to FIG. 1, the numeral 10 indicates a relatively wide strip of thin sheet closure material having a generally central aperture 11. Formed in the strip l0 is a longitudinal crease, score, or serration which defines a hinge line or break 12 (indicated in enlarged cross section in FIG. 2) along which the strip may readily be folded. A thin and narrow tape 13 is bonded to the strip 10 on one side of the break line 12 but with its inner edge closely adjacent the same, as shown in detail FIG. 2. The break line 12 is in general coincidence with the center line of the aperture 1 1, so that the adjacent tape 13 spans the aperture, as shown in FIG. 1. The bonding of the tape 13 to the strip 10 is preferably by heat sealing, as set forth in the previously mentioned co-pending application, the engaged face of the strip 10 carrying a coating of thermoplastic adhesive for this purpose, as well as to provide for subsequent attachment to the packaging container by heat sealing if desired. Assuming for example that the container in point is also of sheet thermoplastic, the thermoplastic coating on the strip 10 is chosen as one having a fusion temperature well below that of the container walls, for a reason hereinafter set forth.
A typical packaging container on which the appliance may be employed is a sheet plastic bag 14, FIGS. 3, 4 and 5, adapted to be loaded with food products such as cookies or cookie sandwiches 15 indicated in FIG. 4. To effect closing the loaded bag, the strip 10 is folded downward along the break line 12 so as to embrace the upper or loading mouth border portion 16 of the bag 14, FIG. 4, the thermoplastic coated face of the strip and the tape 13 bonded thereto being disposed on the inside of the fold; the presence of the break line 12 facilitates precision in the folding process. The sides of the strip 10 are then heat sealed to the outer sides of the bag mouth portion 16. The fact, as mentioned above, that the fusion temperature of the thermoplastic adhesive coating on the strip 10 is well below that of the particular material of which the bag 14 may be composed, allows the heat sealing of the closure thereto to be effected at a temperature too low to cause any sealing between the abutting inner faces of the bag border portion 16 itself. The zone of heat sealing closure indicated by the bracket 17, FIG. 4, will be seen to terminate below the upper edges 18 of the container border or mouth portion 16, so that no sealing occurs between the upwardly extending walls of the strip 10; thus no internal sealing exists in the closure which could interfere with convenient subsequent opening.
The operations described result in the typical closed package shown in FIG. 3, the folding of the strip 10 about the break line 12 having converted the aperture 11 into a notch 19 spanned by the tape 13. As previously mentioned, it is to be understood that the thicknesses and clearances in the drawings have necessarily been greatly exaggerated in order to make possible a clear showing of the relationships involved. For examples, typical actual thicknesses of the tape 13 and strip may be of the order of three-thousandths of an inch, a dimension which may also be generally characteristic of the wall thickness in the bag 14 when the latter is made of the usual plastic material; for the same purpose of clear illustration, cross hatching has been omitted in the sectional FIGS. 2 and 4. With the above detail explanation in mind, it will be further understood that the upper bend at the break line 12, FIG. 4, is in actuality very sharp, with the associated sheet parts pressed together to form a compact and effective closure. The outer faces of the strip 10, FIGS. 3 and 5, are adapted to carry any desired printed matter (not shown) such as labels, trademarks, instructions, etc.
When the package is to be opened, the tape 13 spanning the notch 19 may be grasped by the users thumb 20 and finger 21 and pulled upward as shown in FIG. 5, thus causing the upper sharp edge of the tape to rip or cut the strip 10 along the somewhat weakened break line 12, effecting the desired opening. During this operation, the fact that the joining of the tape 13 to the strip 10 constitutes a permanent bond throughout prevents any such displacement or loosening of the ripping means as has been an occurrence with various prior types of openers. The firmly bonded adherence of the tape 13 also causes the latter, as it is drawn upward, to tear and carry with it the narrow portion 22 of the strip 10 attached thereto, the width of the portion 22 being slightly exaggerated in FIG. 5, again in the interest of clarity.
The tearing away of the portion 22 by the attached tape 13 has three principal advantages. In the first place, after the initial rupture the portion 22 reinforces the tape 13 against any tendency toward breakage at the outwardly progressing tear path in case the opening is performed suddenly or jerkily. Secondly, the tensional resistance to separation of the closure material on the lower edge of the tape 13 holds the latter in most effective cutting alignment to perform its upper opening function along the break line 12. Thirdly, due to the removal of the portion 22 on only one side, the opened container combination has one of its mouth edges 23 displaced upwardly from the edge 24 of the matching wall, as indicated in FIG. 5. The advantage of this arrangement is avoidance of the annoying difficulty often encountered in gaining access to thin walled containers having closely coincident opening edges.
In view of the foregoing description, it is believed evident-that the present invention comprises useful improvements in closure and opening appliances; it will further be evident upon inspection that these improvements have not been disclosed or suggested except in the listed co-pending application Ser. No. 143,951, of which the present application is noted as a continuation in part, dealing specifically with the product itself rather than the preferred manufacturing means. With respect to the prior art in the field, in addition to the previously noted U.S. Pat. No. 3,047,206 to Monahan et al., which patent has common ownership by assignment with the present and noted co-pending applications, the following U.S. patents may be listed as ofinterest: U.S. Pat. No. 3,554,435 l/l2/7l to Martinez; U.S. Pat. No. 3,554,436 l/l2/7l t'o Palmer.
Neither of these patents bears to any significant degree on the present invention, but they may be regarded as pertinent to the extent that while falling within the general category of container combinations, they by their very remoteness from the present concept serve further to accentuate the latters manifest improvements in the field.
The patent to Martinez is of interest because it illustrates a cord incorporated in one end of a bag by heat sealing. However, the cord is not in any sense a rip cord for opening purposes but is precisely the opposite; i.e., the cord serves simply as a reinforcement to prevent accidental rupture of the bag. This patent shows no opening means whatever and thus obviously does not have any significant relation to the present invention, serving merely to illustrate a phase of the general art.
Similarly, the Palmer patent serves to illustrate another phase, namely the use of a metallic foil strip at the upper or opening portion of a container; such provision per se of course is well known in the prior art, in fact being incorporated in the description and claims of the much earlier patent to Monahan et al., previously noted as having common ownership with the present and co-pending applications. Palmers strip has no attached rip cord or tape, but simply defines a line along which opening can be effected only by tearing away the top of the bag itself. This point along makes obvious the lack of any anticipation regarding the present invention.
From the above indications of the general state of the art, and in view of the preceding description of the structure and operation of the present invention, it is believed evident that the latter constitutes a new and useful combination. As noted previously, the descriptive matter and drawings have been taken as illustrating a typical preferred form of the appliance incorporating particular constituent materials. Thus the material of the sealing and labelling strip 10 has been designated typically as metal foil such as aluminum, a material which has marked advantages such as its dead bending quality or lack of tendency to spring open at bends, a quality which retains a sharp fold at the top of the closed container, and similarly permits tight reclosure of a previously opened bag by sharp folding downward in the zone to which the remaining foil is attached. However, if some services make it required or desirable to make the strip 10 of materials other than foil, such as suitable plastic or paper, the appliance is altered or adjusted in detail to meet the particular physical characteristics of the material in hand, but its structure and operation remain as described. Thus, while the invention has been set forth in typical preferred form, it is not limited to the precise embodiment illustrated, as various modifications may be made without departing from inventive concept within the scope of the appended claims.
1, In a closure and opening appliance to be folded about and secured to the mouth portion of a packaging container, in combination, a strip of flexible metal foil like closure material having a longitudinal hinge break line formed medially therethrough whereby accurate folding of said strip may be facilitated, an aperture formed in said strip in substantially central alignment with said break line, and longitudinal rip means comprising a narrow plastic tape heat sealed to said closure strip and spanning said aperture along one side of said hinge break line and having a sharp edge closely adjacent thereto.