|Publication number||US3744663 A|
|Publication date||Jul 10, 1973|
|Filing date||Aug 21, 1969|
|Priority date||Aug 21, 1969|
|Publication number||US 3744663 A, US 3744663A, US-A-3744663, US3744663 A, US3744663A|
|Original Assignee||Plastofilm Inc|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Referenced by (21), Classifications (28)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States Patent 11 1 Moren 110 3,744,663 1 1 July,l0, 1973 1 THREE COMPONENT PACKAGE HAVING AT LEAST TWO COMPONENTS FORMED OF VACUUM MOLDED PLASTIC FILM  Inventor: Robert A. Moren, Mount Prospect,
 Assignee: Plastofilm, Inc., Wheaton, Ill.
 Filed: Aug. 21, 1969  Appl. No.: 852,040
521 US. :1. 220/4 1), 206/4519, 260/4534, 217/265, 220/60 R, 229/15 511 1111. c1... B650 11/10, 865d 43/10, 865d 21/00 581 Field 61 Search; 206/4534, 78 B, 206/65, 65 A, 78 R, 45.19; 220/4, 4 E, 4 1),
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 9/1962 Ringlcn 220/60 2,287,610 6/1942 Guidry 229/15 3,463,309 I 8/ 1969 Szostck 206/78 B 2,931,493 4/l960 Pfohl 206/78 B 2,893,546 7/1959 Kendall et ali.....
2,563,157 8/1951 Castelli 206/4534 UX 2,107,239 2/1938 Eckhoff 206/ 1.8
Primary Examiner-Leonard Summer Attorney-Darbo, Robertson and Vandenburgh [5 7 ABSTRACT A package having three or more components is held together by multi-duty undercut in the middle component which must be made of relatively thin material. Thus, the undercut in the middle receptacle component serves both as part of cover snap means and as retainer for bottom-most component.
Corner initiated rips in an article-receiving cavity are virtually eliminated by a novel indentation at the corners of the cavity.
, 7 Claims, 18 Drawing Figures PATENTED W 3.744.663
saw 1M3 FFIGiZ FIG. 3
//v VE/V T0}? 35 ROBERTA: MORE/V A fiW By A fforneys PAIENIED 3.744.663
sum 3 or 3 lNVE/VTOR 7 ROBERT A. MORE/V A rlorneys PR/Ol? ART THREE COMPONENT PACKAGE HAVING AT LEAST TWO COMPONENTS FORMED OF VACUUM MOLDED PLASTIC FILM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Two component packages, for example, a package including a cover portion and an article-receiving portion are well known. These are commonly fabricated using well-known vacuum thermoforming techniques, for example. It is highly desirable to provide packages comprising three or more components to receive two or more strata of articles therein. For example, it is desirable to provide a package for receiving a pluarlity of vials of medicine, which package also retains instructional material such a display card or dosage table, and the like, in such a manner that it is least likely that the instructional material will be misplaced. It is also highly desirable to provide packaging means for enclosing, for shipping, for example, a set of dissimilar articles, for example, vials of drugs and disposable hypodermic syringe outfits. It is an object of this invention to provide package means for receiving a plurality of strata of dissimilar articles. It is a further object of this invention to provide such means which can be made by thermoforming techniques, for example.
Another difficulty commonly encountered in packaging of snugly-received articles is the liklihood that a rip or tear will initiate at corners of the article-receiving cavity. It is an object of this invention to provide plastic filmpackages, for example, in which the problem of corner tear is virtually eliminated.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with this invention a package for enclosing two or more strata of articles, said package consisting of three or more components is integrated and held together by means of multi-duty offsets. Thus, in accordance with this invention, offsets in a relatively thin middle component serve not only as part socket of the snap means for a cover component, but also serve as retainers for a component positioned on the other side of the middle component.
This invention also provides article-receiving cavities which are not likely to rip at the corners thereof even though made of relatively thin plastic, forexample, which have smoothly curved indents positioned at the junction of cavity walls.
DESIGNATION OF THE FIGURES OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 4A is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view as in FIG. 4, showing an alternative detent structure.
FIG. 5 is a perspective, partially cut-away view of an alternative package in accordance with this invention. FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view showing the three components making up the package of FIG. 5.
FIG. 7 is an end elevational view of the package illustrated in FIG. 5.
FIG. 8 is an enlarged fragmentary cross-sectional view taken approximately along the line 8-8 of FIG. 7.
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the package illustrated in FIG. 1, after .vials are loaded therein, being shown with the package cover removed therefrom.
FIG. 10 is a plan view of the embodiments shown in FIG. 1 having the cover removed therefrom. I
' FIG. 11 is an enlarged perspective view showing the detail of the corner construction of the articlereceiving wells.
FIGS. 12 through 17 are diagrammatic views illustrating the function of the improved corners of this invention.
FIG. 12 is a fragmentary diagrammatic plan view of a portion of an article-receiving cavity in accordanc with the prior art.
FIG. 13 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken approximately along the line 13-13 of FIG. 12.
FIG. 14 is an enlarged fragmentary plan view showing one end of an article-receiving cavity as it appears in the upper left of component illustrated in FIG. 10.
FIG. 15 is a fragmentary cross-sectional view taken approximately along the line 15-l5 of FIG. 14.
FIG. 16 is an enlarged diagrammatic plan view showing the mouth of the article illustrated in FIG. 14 except that the mouth is shown momentarily widened as upon partial removal of an article: from the cavity.
FIG. 17 is an enlarged fragmentarycross-sectional view taken approximately along the line l7--l7 of FIG. 16.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS '23 or 24. Lower-most component 23 is a card on which can be printed essential disclosure information relative to the particular articles packaged in container 20. Component 24, on the other hand, is an articlereceiving receptacle-type component for holding articles which are used in conjunction with the articles packaged in middle component 22'. Thus, FIGS. 1 through 4 illustrate a first preferred embodiment and FIGS. 5 through 8 illustrate the second preferred embodiment.
Covers, 21, 21' are shown fabricated from a transparent plastic sheet, and include a generally flat topsurface 27, 27' and sidewalls 28, 28. At the lower end of upright sidewalls 28, 28 are steps 30, 30' formed by outwardly projecting planar portions 31, 31' and additional upright side-walls 33, 33'. Sidewalls 33, 33' terminate at outwardlyextending planar flange 35, 35'. Cover offsets 37, 37 in the sidewalls form inward projections which serve as part of the cover snap means for retaining the cover over middle component 22, 22'.
Middle component 22 includes a relatively planar face portion 40, 40', having sidewalls 42, 42' peripherally dependent-therefrom. Sidewalls 28,- 28', and 42, 42' taper downwardly and outwardly. It is -noted thatsidewalls 42, 42' mate with, or closely abut, sidewalls 21, 21', respectively. Sidewalls 42, 42' terminate at steps 45, 45 which include outwardly extending planar 37, 37 so that the inward projections of the latter are received in the external sockets of the former.
It is preferred that flange 51, 51' include recess 57, 57 to facilitate manual grasping of flange 35.
Article-receiving members, generally 60, 60, also depend from face portions 40, 40'. Article-receiving members, generally 60, 60' are shown to be generally arcuate in transverse cross-section to snugly receive cylindrical vials 61 which have round sidewalls 63 and flat ends 64. Consequently, article-receiving members 60, 60' are shaped to include substantially circular sidewalls 65, 65' and flat end walls 66, 66'. Circular sidewalls 65, 65 are proportioned to closely receive vials 61 therein. Moreover, the center of curvature of the curved sidewalls 65,65 is slightly below the level of face portions 40, 40'. Thus, sidewalls 65, 65 are wider slightly below mouths 68, 68 than at mouths 68,68. The resilience of the plastic sheet material permits vial 61 to be pressed, or snapped into article-receiving members 60, 60, to facilitate firm retention of vials 61 in receptacle 22. Also, in accordance with a more preferred embodiment of this invention, planar portions 40, 40, includes relatively small extensions 70, which extend over mouths 68, 68' in the same plane as faces 40, 40' and which further facilitate retention of vial 61 in article-receiving members 60, 60'.
It will be appreciated that, generally speaking, any solid article which is being firmly retained due to pressure of the sidewalls in an article-receiving member manufactured from plastic or other film will cause substantial stresses at the junctions between adjacent sidewalls. In the illustrated embodiments these stresses are particularly great at the junction of sidewalls 65, 65' with end walls 66, 66 in the region beginning at the widest portion of article retaining members 60, 60 and extending upwardly to mouths 68, 68.
FIGS. 12 through 17 are provided to illustrate the improvement. FIGS. 12 and 13 illustrate the structures of the prior art. As the mouth has width equal to the dimension marked Y in FIGS. 12 and 13, it is narrower than the widest portion of the article-receiving member 60 which has the dimension indicated at X in FIGS. 12 and 13. Thus, when a vial 61, having an outer diameter equal to X is forced through mouth 70 having a width equal to Y it is apparent that end wall 68 and face portion 40 must stretch to permit passage of vial 61 through mouth 68. Thus, as the widest portion (dimension X") of vial 61 passes through the relatively narrow mouth, (dimension Y) tearing forces are exerted if end wall 68 and face portion 40 can not stretch to the distance X. It has been found that tears are most likely to occur at the junction between adjacent sidewalls. In accordance with this invention, however, adjacent walls are joined by smoothly curving indented section 75. Thus, in accordance with this invention, the smoothly curving indented junction structure 75 includes a curvature which extends more than 180 around an approximate center of curvature. In the illustrated embodiments, perhaps best appreciated from a consideration of FIG. 10, the center of curvature of junction structure 75 is approximately at the point at which sidewalls and 66 would join were it not for the improved junction structure of this invention. It will be seen from the drawings of the illustrated embodiment that structure extends approximately 270 around the point which might be considered an approximate center of curvature. It will be further appreciated that every point on the junction structure lies outside of the enclosure which is formed, or the enclosure which would have been formed, by the straight extension of walls 65, 66. In the illustrated embodiments, the improved junction is provided only in the upper regions of sidewalls 65 and 66, namely, at and above the center of curvature of sidewalls 65. Sidewall 65 is somewhat cylindrical in nature having a center of curvature, or axis, which is parallel with respect to face 40 and which lies slightly below face 40, i.e., at a level near that but slightly above the level of bottom 77 of junction structure 75. As indicated above, it is at the junction of end wall 66 and sidewall 65 in the narrowing region above the widest portion of sidewall 65 which is subjected to the greatest stress when vial 61 is snapped into or withdrawn from article-receiving members 60, 60'. The structure in accordance with this invention is illustrated in FIGS. 14 and 15 in which it is appreciated that the diameter of the indent junction 75 is great enough to extend junction structure 75 beyond the widest portion of the curve of sidewall 65. Thus, sidewall 76 extends outwardly away from sidewall 65 smoothly curving around until it adjoins end wall 66 more or less perpendicularly. Bottom 77 of indent junction structure 75 thus rests at or below the center of curvature of sidewall 65. This enables the upper, narrowing portion of sidewall 65 to flex outwardly, the entire length or depth of junction member 75. As illustrated in FIGS. 16 and 17, as a snugly fitting article 61 is inserted into and withdrawn from article-receiving members 60, 60', sidewalls 65, 65' can move to the positions illustrated in FIGS. 16 and 17 without the initiation of tears at junction structure 75. Thus, junction structure 75 provides a certain amount of flexibility and spring action, in addition to eliminating sharply pointed corners which serve as focal points for initiation of rips. This spring, or flexing characteristic further facilitates the retention of vial 61 in article-retaining members 60, 60'. As a result of incorporating junction structure 75 in accordance with this invention, it is now possible to position the axis of curvature of sidewalls 65 considerably deeper than the level of face portion 40 to develop greater flexing and more substantial snapping of the vials 61 into position. It has been heretofore considered essential to position the center of curvature extremely close to the level of face portion 40.
Article-receiving members having relatively straight flat sidewalls may also be fitted with the rip-eliminating junction structure 75 in accordance with this invention. However, the improvement of this invention provides maximum benefits when used in conjunction with an article receiving members 60, 60' in which the mouths 68, 68' are somewhat narrower than the widest portion of the article-receiving enclosure. It is essential that every portion of sidewall 76 be outside of the region defined by adjacent sidewalls, or straight line extension of adjacent side-walls. In this way junction structure 75, even though providing for considerable spring action, does not interfere with or obstruct the region normally occupied by article 61.
As stated above, it is essential that the curvature of sidewalls 76 extend at least 180 around an approximate center of curvature. It is preferred, as illustrated in the drawings, that sidewall 76 extend approximately 270 around the approximate center of curvature. It is also noted that the center of curvature or axis of sidewalls 76 is substantially vertical, i.e., perpendicular to face 40, although it is not essential that it be vertical.
The third component of the multi-component package in accordance with this invention, card 23, or article-receiving component 24, is positioned below article-receiving component middle 22 and is retained in position by the inward projections formed by offsets 55, on middle component 22, 22. In the illustrated embodiments card 23, for example, a disclosure information card for example, is retained in place by being confined between the inner face of planar surface 47 of the step and the inward projections defined by offsets 55. Thus, offset 55 serves as part of the cover snap means due to the fact that the socket at the outer surface is positioned to mate with the inner projections formed by offsets 37 of cover 21, and moreover serves as card-retaining element due to the combination of dimensions of card 23 and the overall dimensioning of the article, particularly the space between the internal surfaces of offsets 55 positioned on opposing sidewalls 49 of component 22. It will be appreciated that card 23, when held in position in FIG. 4, also defines an enclosedregion 79 between card 23 and under-surface of component 22. In a commercial embodiment, labels or other articles can be included with the completed packaged product in region 79. The physician or pharmacist, passing the article into the hands of an ultimate user, can elect to leave card 23 and the enclosed labels or other information securely attached, or completely remove the informational material therefrom. It is preferred that card 23 be provided with tab 80 which extends beyond indent 57, and facilitates removal of the card. To insert the card 23 with the tab 80 thereon it will be necessary to bend the tab out of the plane of the card; or, with some cards, the card will flex so that the central portion of the card does not lie in the same plane as the end portions where the engagement with the projections of offsets 55 takes place. Tab 80 also provides a readily visible surface 82 upon which notice or other indicia can be printed. Card 23 also serves as a stiffening member when positioned as illustrated in FIG. 4, and is not apt to be misplaced when cover 21 is opened and an article 61 removed.
In a second preferred embodiment, illustrated in FIGS. 5 through 8, the lower component 24 is retained in position under component 22' by offsets 55' in a structure similar in that respect to that illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 4. The third component 24 includes a bottom 85 and sidewalls 86 peripherally ascendant therefrom. Sidewalls depend peripherally from planar face portion 88 and terminate in an outwardly extending flange 94. Offsets are positioned in sidewalls 90 in'alignment with offsets 55'. Offsets defineexternal sockets which 95 are positioned to mate with the inward projections or fingers defined by offsets 55' in sidewalls 49' of component 22'. Thus, when snapped into the position illustrated in FIG. 8, the lower component 24 and middle component 22' form an enclosed region therebetween.
It is most desirable that offsets which are mated in accordance with this invention be positioned in close ing inwardly extending snap means; the receptacle proximity to the corners of the packages in accordance with this invention. Thus, in the preferred embodiments illustrated, it is apparent that all offsets are positioned within the end quarters of the particular sides on which they are located.
As used herein, the term film package is intended to include any assembly of three or more package compo- FIG. 4A illustrates an alternative embodiment in Y which the middle component 22 has openings in place of offsets 55. The inward projections formed by offsets 37 extend through openings 105 to form the projections holding card 23 in place.
ACHIEVEMENT Thus, in accordance with this invention the art is provided with a package having three or more components, which package defines two or more levels of en closures. The package utilizes multi-functional offsets in the sidewalls thereof. Packages in accordance with this invention are readily made by conventional vacuum, therrnoforming technique, for example. The preferred package of this invention. provides means for snugly receiving articles within enclosure members formed of resilient plastic sheeting, and for virtually eliminating the initiation of tears at the junction of adjacent sidewalls, even though the article enclosure member be made of relatively thin film.
Therefore I claim:
1. A container including: a cover component, a receptacle component, and a bottom component; said cover component including a face and peripherally dependent sidewalls around said face, said sidewalls havcomponent having a first article-receiving member with a bottom and an open top, said receptacle component including a face from which said member depends and from which peripheral outwardly tapering receptacle sidewalls depend, said receptacle sidewalls including a stepped portion having an outwardly extending planar portion with downwardly and outwardly extending sidewalls dependent therefrom, detent means in said sidewalls of said receptacle component for receiving, mating, and detaining said inwardly extending snap means in the cover component, said detent means and said snap means, when mating, including inwardly reaching fingers extending inwardly from the inner surface of said side-walls; the bottom component extending between opposed sides of the sidewalls of the receptacle component and engaging said inwardly reaching fingers.
2. In a multi-part container including a cover component, a middle component and! a lower component, with the cover and middle components defining relatively upright side-walls, said cover component fitting on the middle component to define an article receiving space therebetween and with portions of the sidewalls of the upper component in juxtaposition to portions of the sidewalls of the middle component, said lower component fitting to the bottom of the middle component with portions of the lower component in juxtaposition to said portions of the middle component, the improvement comprising:
said portions of the middle component sidewalls having an offset therein which defines socket conformations on a first side of said sidewalls thereof and projection conformations on the second side of said sidewalls thereof, said portions of the cover component having first means in juxtaposition to and mating with one of the conformations to releasably resist separation of the cover and middle components, said portions of the lower component having a second means in juxtaposition to and mating with the other of the conformations to releasably resist separation of the lower and middle components.
3. In a multi-part container including a cover component, a middle component and a lower component, with the cover and middle components defining relatively upright side-walls, said cover component fitting on the middle component to define an article receiving space therebetween and with portions of the sidewalls of the upper component in juxtaposition to por-tions of the, sidewalls of the middle component, said lower component fitting to the bottom of the middle component with portions of the lower component in juxtaposition to said portions of the middle component, the improvement comprising:
said portions of the middle component sidewalls having an offset therein which defines socket conformations on a first side of said sidewalls thereof and projection conformations on the second side of said sidewalls thereof, said portions of the cover component having first means mating with the conformations in juxtaposition thereto to releasably resist separation of the cover and middle components, said portions of the lower component having second means mating with the conformations in juxtaposition thereto to releasably resist separation of the lower and middle components, the middle component being molded plastic and at least two of the sidewalls thereof having an outward step therein with the sidewall continuing below said step, said portions being in the parts of the sidewalls below said step, said projection conformations extending inwardly, said portions of the lower component fitting below said step and above said projection conformations.
4. In a container as set forth in claim 3, wherein said lower component is in the main a flat planar element.
5. In a container as set forth in claim 3, wherein the lower component is molded plastic and includes an article receiving member and said means thereon comprises conformations mating with said projection conformations.
6. In a container as set forth in claim 3, wherein the cover component is molded plastic and the sidewalls thereof that are in juxtaposition to said stepped sidewalls of the middle component having outward steps therein immediately above the steps in the middle component with the cover sidewalls continuing below the steps therein, said first means comprising offsets defining inward projections in the sidewalls of the cover component mating with said socket conformations.
7. In a multi-part container including a cover component, a middle component and a lower component, with the cover and middle components defining relatively upright side-walls, said cover component fitting on the middle component to define an article receiving space therebetween and with portions of the sidewalls of the upper component in juxtaposition to portions of the sidewalls of the middle component, said lower component fitting to the bottom of the middle component with portions of the lower component in juxtaposition to said portions of the middle component, the improvement comprising:
said portions of the middle component sidewalls having an offset therein which defines socket conformations on a first side of said sidewalls thereof and projection conformations on the second side of said sidewalls thereof, said portions of the cover component having first means mating with the conformations in juxtaposition thereto to releasably resist separation of the cover and middle components, said portions of the lower component having second means mating with the conformations in juxtaposition thereto to releasably resist separation of the lower and middle components-the lower component being molded plastic and including an article receiving member and having generally upright walls defining said portions of the lower component, said second means comprising offsets in said upright walls of the lower component defining conformations mating with the conformationson the middle component.
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|U.S. Classification||220/4.27, 217/26.5, 206/446, 229/120.22, 220/788|
|International Classification||B65D51/24, B65D43/02, B65D75/34, B65D51/28, B65D81/32, B65D75/28|
|Cooperative Classification||B65D2543/00574, B65D2543/0062, B65D2543/00648, B65D11/10, B65D2543/00731, B65D2543/00351, B65D2543/00194, B65D2543/00694, B65D43/0212, B65D2543/00527, B65D2543/00805, B65D2543/00296, B65D2543/00537, B65D51/28|
|European Classification||B65D11/10, B65D51/28, B65D43/02S3E|