|Publication number||US3771712 A|
|Publication date||Nov 13, 1973|
|Filing date||Feb 28, 1972|
|Priority date||Mar 2, 1971|
|Also published as||CA957656A1, DE2209967A1|
|Publication number||US 3771712 A, US 3771712A, US-A-3771712, US3771712 A, US3771712A|
|Original Assignee||Autobars Vendabeka Ltd|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (8), Referenced by (28), Classifications (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
United States- Patent 1 Richards [451 Nov. 13, 1973 BOXES OR PACKS FOR PACKAGING EGGS; FRUIT OR OTHER ARTICLES  Inventor: Raymond Keith Richards,
Brentford, England  Assignee: Autobars-Vendabeka Limited,
Somerset, England 22 Filed: Feb. 28, 1972 21 Appl. No.: 229,843
 Foreign Application Priority Data Mar. 2, 1971 Great Britain 5849/71 Sept. 21, 1971 Great Britain 43589/71  US. Cl. -229/2.5, 229/29 M, 217/265  Int. Cl B65d 1/00, B65d 81/00  Fieldof Search 229/29 M, 2.5, 45;
[ 56] 7 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,362,605 H1968 Bixler Primary Examiner-Davis T. Moorhead Att0rneyD. C. Roylance et a1.
[5 7] ABSTRACT A box or pack for packaging eggs, fruit or other articles is formed as a one-piece moulding of plastics material and comprises a base part having rows of articlereceiving pockets, and a cover part of tray-like shape, the base and cover parts being hinged together along mutually adjacent rims so that the cover can be folded about the hinge from an open position to a closed position in which it closes the open, upper ends of the pockets. The cover part is strengthened by a trough formed in the cover generally parallel to the rows of article-receiving pockets and projecting inwardly of the tray so that, when the box is closed, the trough engages the tops of posts'formed between adjacent rows of pockets in order to support the top of the cover part against collapse under load. A latching flap, which is resiliently biased outwardly, is hinged to the rim of the base part opposite the hinge of the cover part forretaining the cover part in its closed posi tion. wh'efihe'cbvrpan i's'clo'se'd, this 'tTapis tuc kdinside the adjacentside 'wall of the cover part so that mutually co-operating bosses and recesses on the flap and side wall can interengage to retain the cover part closed. In a preferred form of the invention used for packaging eggs, the package comprises two such boxes formed as an integral unit and joined together at mutually adjacent ends. The plastic webs interconnecting the ends of the two boxes are formedwith perforations so that the package can be readily split into its two component boxes.
I V 5 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures PATENTEDHUV 13 1975 SHEET 2 CF 2 BOXES OR PACKS FOR PACKAGING-EGGS;
FRUIT OR OTHER ARTICLES The present invention relates to a box or packfor packaging eggs, fruit or other articles and, more particularly, to such a box or pack of the type which is formed as a one-piece moulding of plastics or other material and comprises a base part having mutually parallel rows of article-receiving pockets, and a cover part of tray-like shape, and base and cover parts being hinged together along mutually adjacent rims so that the cover part can be folded about the hinge froman open position to the closed position in which it is inverted over the base part and closes the upper, open ends of the pockets. Conveniently, the box is thermoformed from plastics sheet material.
An object of the present invention is to provide an improved construction for a box of the type above described which willafford satisfactory resistance to collapse or crushing when the box is'moulded as a thinwalled product from plastics sheet material, such as impact polystyrene, while providing the cover part with a flat top surface of relatively large area on which may be printed or otherwise applied a supplier's name or advertising or other matter. Another object is to provide a box of the type above described which is particularly adapted for use with automatic printing machinery and machinery for automatically packingeggs or other articles.
According to the present invention, the cover part of the box is strengthened by a trough formed in the cover generally parallel to the rows of article-receiving pockets and projecting inwardly of the tray so that, when the box is closed, the trough engages the tops of posts formed between adjacent rows of pockets in order to support the top of the cover part against collapse under load. Preferably, the opposite longitudinal sides of the trough are formed with a stepped configuration converging towards the bottom of the trough which serves to stiffen the sides of the trough and, consequently, the supportfor the top of the cover part. i
According to afeature of the invention, the bottom of the trough is formed, on the inside of the cover part and at least at positions opposite the tops of the posts between adjacent rows of pockets, with a rib or ribs adapted to engage in cooperating grooves in the tops of the posts, when the cover part is closed,- to resist transverse and/or longitudinal sliding of the cover part relative to the base part. Rebates may also be formed along opposite, longitudinal marginal zones of the-topof the cover, the internal comers of these rebates and of the steps in the trough sides engaging upper, side portions of articles contained in the box to restrain them from contacting the top surface of the cover part.
According to another feature of the invention, the boxes are designed so as to facilitate separation of individual boxes from a quantity of boxes which are stacked, for the purposes of storage and transportation,
one on top of the other in the open condition with their base and cover parts respectively nested one within the other. To this end each of the base and cover parts is cal separating devices of automatic printing and packing machinery.
The box is conveniently provided with a latching flap for retaining the cover part' in its closed position. The latching flap is hinged to the rim of the base part opposite the hinge of the cover part and may be formed with one or more recesses adapted to interengage with one or more bosses on the inside of the adjacent overlying wall of the cover part, when the latter is closed over the flap, which is resiliently biassed'outwardly in order 'to urge the boss(es) and recess(es) into engagement. The or each inwardly projecting latching boss on the wall of the cover part may be provided with a lead-in taper for facilitating engagement of the boss with its latching recess', and these lead-in tapers also serve to prevent the latching bosses of nested cover parts from interlocking when boxes are stacked.
A box according to the invention for packaging eggs is preferably designed to accommodate all categories of egg sizes. To this end, each egg-receiving pocket is of generally polygonal shape in-plan and is formed by two merging, generally polygonal frustra, the included angle of the lower frustrum being greater than that of the upper. Extending axially down the exterior of at least some of the sides of the pockets are relatively wide, hollow ribs which terminate short of the lower ends of the pockets. The lower ends of these ribs may be extended by narrower, hollow ribs which lead formed with stacking shoulders which engage with the towards the bottoms of the pockets. These sets of ribs serve to stiffen the pocket against axialdistortion and also to protectthe sides of an egg by acting to cushion side forces or shocks on the pocket. The exterior of the bottom of each pocket may be moulded with a hollow cushioning boss, which also serves to stiffen the bottom of the pocket and which may be connected to the pocket sides by small radial ribs which add additional stiffening to the bottom.
In order that the invention may be more readily understood, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings, in which: r
FIG. 1 is a plan view of an eggbox constructed in accordance with the invention and shown in the fully open position,
- FIG. 2 is an end view of the open box shown in FIG. 1, and i FIG. 3 is a transverse section through the box of FIG. 1, when closed, and taken along the line A-A of FIG. 1. I Referring to the drawings, the eggbox is a one-piece moulding of plastics material. For example, conveniently it is fluid pressure-formed orvacuum formed from plastics sheet material, such as high impact polystyrene sheet material. It comprises a base part 1 and a cover part 2, both of generally rectangular shape in plan, joinedtogether along mutually adjacent longitudinal rims by an integral web 3 serving as a hinge about which the cover part may be folded over the base part.
- In the .preferred form of the invention used for packaging eggs, the package comprises two such boxes formed as an integral unit and joined together at mutually adjacent ends. In FIG. 1 only a fragment of the second box is indicated by,the references la and 2a the plastics webs interconnecting the ends of the two boxes being formed with perforations 40 or otherlines of weakness so that the package canbe readily split into ints two component boxes each containing, for example, six eggs. As the boxes 1, 2 and la, 2a are identical, the
construction of only one box will be described in detail.
The base part 1 comprises six egg-receiving pockets 4 disposed in two mutually parallel rows with the pockets of the two rows arranged side-by-side. The two rows of pockets 4 are separated from one another by hollow posts 5 moulded at the centre of each array of four adjacent pockets, hollow half-posts 6 between the rows at opposite ends of the base part, and hollow partitions 7 interconnecting the posts and half-posts. Adjacent pockets in each row are separated from one another by transverse hollow partitions 8 which join the posts 5 to hollow half-posts 9 formed in the side walls of the base part. The walls of the posts, half-posts, partitions, side walls and/or end walls of the base part are so shaped that each pocket 4 defined thereby is of generally octagonal shape in plan and is formed by upper and lower merging octagonal frustra 10, 11. The upper frustrum 10 has nearly vertical side walls, inclined only slightly inwardly, whilst the lower frustrum 11 has a larger included angle than the upper frustrum. Extending axially down at least some of the sides of each pocket, on
the exterior of the pocket, are wide, hollow ribs 12.
These ribs terminate short of the closed bottom 13 of the pocket and are joined to the closed bottom by narrower hollow ribs 14. Similar narrow, hollow ribs 14a are formed at the bottom of someof the pocket sides not provided with the wide ribs 12. These sets of ribs serve to stiffen the pockets and act as cushions to protect the eggs against side blows or shocks. The closed bottom 13 of each pocket is formed on. its outside with a hollow boss 15, the centre 15a of which is domed inwardly, which serves as a protective cushion for the bottom of an egg and to stiffen the closed bottom of the pocket. The bottom of the pocket is additionallystiffened by small ribs 16 extending radially from the boss 15 to the periphery of the lower frustrum 11. An egg E (shown in broken lines in FIG. 3) disposed in a pocket tends to seat on the side walls of the pocket and does not normally rest on the bottom 13.
A stiffening flange 17, which extends downwardly and outwardly, is formed around the rim of the base part. Along the side connected to the cover part, this flange is integral with the web hinge 3. The posts 6 at opposite end walls of the base part are lower than the normal height of the base part and the flange 17 is stepped downwardly at 18 to the height of these posts so as to provide ventilating openings between the cover and the base parts when the cover is closed.
The cover part 2 is of tray-shape and, in the embodiment illustrated, its depth is approximately one-third of the overall depth of the closed box. The base part is made deeper than the cover part so as to provide better retention of the eggs when they are deposited into the base part by an egg packing machine. The cover part is deep enough to accommodate the projecting top portions of eggs seated in the pockets 4 when it is folded about the web hinge 3 into an inverted closed position over the base part, as shown in FIG. 3. A stiffening flange 19, similar to the flange 17, is formed around the rim of the cover part, this flange also being integral with the web hinge 3. A rebate 20 is formed along opposite longitudinal marginal zones of the top wall 21 of the cover part and hollow stiffening ribs 22 are formed on the exterior of the side and end walls 23, 24 of the cover part. The stiffening ribs 22 along the side walls 23 also extend across the rebates 20. Formed centrally along the top wall 21 and projecting into the interior of the cover part is a deep trough 25. The opposite longitudinal side walls 26 of this trough are formed with a stepped configuration which serves to stiffen the trough. Additional stiffening is provided by opposed pairs of hollow ribs 27 on the inside of the cover part and extending transversely of the steps from top to bottom of the trough sides. When the cover part is closed (FIG. 3), the bottom of the trough extends across the centres of the hollow posts 5. On the inside of the cover part, the bottom of the trough is formed with two, short hollow ribs 28 at positions opposite the posts 5 and these engage in co-operating grooves 29 in the tops of the posts when the cover part is closed. The ribs 27 preferably extend to the ribs 28 and engage in the transverse recesses 29a at opposite sides of the grooves 29. Thus, when the cover is closed, the ribs 28 and 27 engage in the grooves 29 and recesses 29a and prevent movement of the cover part, both longitudinally and transversely, relative to the base part. The ribs 28 rest on the bottoms of the grooves 29 and support the cover part. The construction thus affords good resistance to collapse when the top of the box is subjected to a load, whilst providing a considerable flat area on the box top on which can be printed the suppliers name or other advertising matter or decoration. Additionally, the internal comers 20a of the rebates 20 and the internal corners of the steps 26 in the trough sides restrain eggs from contacting the top wall 21.
integral with therim of the base part opposite the web hinge 3 is a latching flap 30 which is connected to the stiffening flange 17 by an arcuate web 31 such that the flap is level with the rim (see FIG. 2) and remains in this position until it is folded upwardly for the purposes of latching, whereupon it exhibits a resilient outward bias to provide a secure latching effect. The fact that the flap is initially positioned level with the rim provides advantages when the boxes are stacked and for feeding the boxes through automatic egg packing machinery. The width of the flap is slightly less than the depth of the side walls 23 of the cover part so that, when it is folded upwardly and inwardly to be tucked inside the longitudinal side wall 23 with which it cooperates to effect latching, it does not prevent the cover part from being closed over the base part. The flap has two generally triangular recesses 32 formed in its face which is intended to abut the inside of the said side wall 23 and at positions opposite the adjacent half posts 9. Formed across the web hinge 31 are bridging ribs 33,which serve to stiffen the web and increase the outward bias of the flap when it is folded upwardly into its latching position. The co-operating cover side wall 23 is formed with inwardly projecting bosses 34 having inclined inner ends 35 which serve as lead-in tapers. When the-cover part is closed with the latching flap 30 manually held so that the said side wall 23 engages outside the flap, the bosses 34 latchinto the recesses 32 in the flap to retain the cover part in its closed position. The inherent outward bias of the flap 30 tends to maintain the latching bosses 35 and recesses 32 in engagement. Any excess movement of the flap 30 about its hinge 31 in a direction inwardly of the box is resisted by the bottom edges of the recesses 32 engaging the tops of the posts 9, thereby reducing the chance of the latching flap being damaged by being folded too far inwardly. When it is required to open the box, it is a simple matter to flex the cover side wall 23 outwardly to release the bosses 34 from the recesses 32. Unlatching is facilitated by the trough since the cover part can readily be gripped between the stiffening flange 19 which projects along the cover side wall adjacent the flap and the adjacent side of the trough in order to flex the side wall. This action can be effected without any sudden release of the cover part and consequent jolting of the box which might cause an egg to be dis-v lodged from the box as it is opened. After the box has been opened, it may be reclosed in the same manner as initially described above.
For the purposes of storage and transportation and feeding into automatic printing and egg packing machinery, the boxes are stacked in the fully open condition, as shown in FIG. 2, with their base parts 1 respectively nested one within another and their cover parts 2 respectively nested. In order to facilitate destacking of the nested boxes by mechanical separating devices, the base and cover parts are provided at their four corners with lower, external stacking shoulders 36, 37. These stacking shoulders are formed at the bottoms of external hollow protuberances 41, 42 which diverge downwardly from the rims of the base and cover parts with an approximately 7 reverse taper, and they rest respectively on the rims of the base and cover parts of a like box with which their'associated parts are nested in order to prevent the boxes from wedging or jamming together. The rims of the box and cover parts thus constitute upper stacking shoulders.
The lead-in tapers at the ends of the latching bosses 34 prevent these bosses from becoming locked together when the boxes are stacked.
Whilst a particular embodiment has been described, it will be understood that modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, the eggbox may be constructed to contain a different quantity of eggs. Moreover, the web hinge 3 between the base and cover parts may be weak or flexible so that the cover readily hinges downwardly under its own weight when the box is open. This is advantageous when the box is fed in the open condition and with the base part leading, for example, through an egg packing machine, since it enables the base part to remain horizontal and prevents the weight of the lid from raising the leading edge of the base part, which might impede passage of the box through the necessarily shallow gap between the egg discharge device and the transport mechanism of the machine.
1. A box for packaging eggs, fruit and other articles comprising in combination:
a. a base part having mutually parallel rows of articlereceiving pockets open at their upper ends and posts formed between adjacent rows of said pockets,
b. a cover part of tray-like shape having a top and side walls,
c. hinge means hinging said base and cover parts together along mutually adjacent rims so that said cover part can be folded about said hinge froman open position to a closed position in which it is inverted over said base part and closes said open, upper ends of said pockets,
d. said base part, cover part and hinge means being thermo-formed in one piece from plastics sheet material,
e. said top of said cover part having a trough formed therein generally parallel to said rows of articlereceiving pockets and projecting inwardly of said tray, and said top having generally flat areas on opposite longitudinal sides of said trough,
f. means defining a stepped configuration in opposite longitudinal side walls of said trough, said stepped configuration converging towards the bottom of said trough, and means defining rebates along opposite longitudinal marginal zones of said top of said cover part, said rebates and steps having internal corners within said cover part, which corners are adapted to engage with upper portions of articles packaged in the box to restrain said articles from contacting said top,
g. means in said trough defining projections on the inside of said cover part at and adjacent the bottom of said trough, said projections being adapted to engage in co-operating recesses in the tops of said posts of said base part, when said cover part is closed, whereby said top of said cover part is supported and is restrained from moving both longitudinally and transversely relative to said base part, said base and cover parts being shaped to nest, in the open position, within the like parts of another like box, respectively, and being formed with stacking shoulders which engage with stacking means on said like parts to restrain the nested parts from wedging together.
2. The box claimed in claim 1, including a latching flap for retaining said cover part in its closed position, said latching flap being hinged to the rim of said base part opposite said hinge of said cover part and being insertable. inside said cover part in the closed position of the latter, said latching flap being formed with at least one recess adapted to engage with at least one boss on the inside of the adjacent overlying side wall of said cover part, when said cover part is closed over said flap, and means resiliently biassing said flap outwardly of said box in order to urge said at least one recess and boss into engagement and retain said cover part closed.
3. The box claimed in claim 1, wherein said base part has a depth approximately equal to two thirds of the overall depth of the closed box and the cover part has a depth approximately equal to one third of the overall depth of said box. 7
4. The box claimed in claim 1, wherein each articlereceiving pocket is of generally polygonal shape in plan and is formed by two merging, generally polygonal frustra, the included angle of the lower frustrum being greater than that of the upper frustrum.
5. The box claimed in claim 4 including relatively wide hollow ribs extending axially down the exterior of at least some of the sides of said pockets and terminating short of the bottoms of said pockets, narrower holbosses to the sides of said pockets.
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|U.S. Classification||206/521.1, 217/26.5|
|International Classification||B65D85/30, B65D85/32|