US 3813123 A
Multiple container carriers comprising ribbons of greater vertical than horizontal measurement being formed of plastic material that has been extruded and fused in the molten or semi-molten state.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Owen 1 1 EXTRUDEI) PLASTIC CONTAINER CARRIER  Inventor: Ronald Charles Owen, Harwood Heights, 111. i
 Assignee: Illinois Tool Works Inc., Chicago,
 Filed: May 11, 1972  Appl. No.2 252,172
 U.S. Cl. 294/87.2, 206/65 C  Int. Cl B65d 71/00  Field of Search 294/87, 87.2; 53/26, 28, 53/29, 48; 206/65 C, 65 E; 224/45 A, 45 AA,
45 AB, 45 BA  I References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,038,602
6/1962 Rapata 294/872 X 3,385,626 5/1968 Wozniak 294/872 3,460,863 8/1969 Schaich 294/871 3,611,656 10/1971 Chidsey 206/65 C X 3,621,628 11/1971 Chidsey 206/29 3,688,899 9/1972 Walter 206/65 C Primary Examiner-Richard E. Aegerter Assistant Examiner-Johnny D. Cherry  ABSTRACT Multiple container carriers comprising ribbons of greater vertical than horizontal measurement being formed of plastic material that has been extruded and fused in the molten or semi-molten state.
10 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures mum.
I PAYENTEDIAYw am y saw u or 5 3 I I I r I ll SHEEISBFS Fig.4.?
llllllll ll BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION I The invention can be made by known processes and apparatus for extruding molten plastic material such as polyethylene from what may be described as a plurality of nozzles,.and then by moving the nozzles or the extruded strands while the plastic material is still in a mol' ten or semi-molten state, toward and away from each other to cause the strands to be fused at selected positions linearly of the strands as they are extruded. Such systems have previously been used to produce plastic netting as shown in the'patent to Schultheiss, US. Pat. No. 3,242,023, and as will appear hereinafter, the present invention contemplates the use of such systems to produce the multiple container carriers of the invention Prior art multiple container carriers have been made from plastic materials and particularly sheet material as shown for example in the Poupitch US. Pat. No. 2,874,835. Further, cord-like container carriers have been previously known as shown in the Poupitch Pat. No. 3,097,740 and the Rockett Pat. No. 3,480,135.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION tainer encircling bands are vertically oriented and aligned ribbons have a definitely greater height than thickness. The ratio of the thickness to the height of the container encircling ribbonsis important if efficient use of the plastic materialis to be accomplished. I have found in reductions to practice of my invention that my extruded plastic carriers for multiple containers are most cfficient if the container encircling ribbons are extruded so that a maximum area of frictional contact may be established between the outer vertical surfaces of the containers and the inner contiguous surfaces of r the present invention;
the carrier ribbons afterassociation with those containers. I
The present invention contemplates four preferred embodiments; three of the embodiments are particularly adapted for cylindrical containers such as cans, and the fourth embodiment is particularly adapted for bottles having reduced'neck portions.
Three of the four embodiments also include certain unique forms of handle means, and the handle means of one of the embodiments further function. to provide proper separation of adjacent containers where the containers have outwardly extending top sections such as chimes.
The primary object of the invention is to provide efficient and economical multiple container carrier constructions and arrangements utilizing known extrusion processes and apparatus capable of extruding and fusing molten or semi-molten plastic ribbons.
Other objects and features of the invention will be apparent upon a perusal of the hereinafter following specification and drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a top plan view of a section of extruded container carrier stock made according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of 6 containers assembled in a unitary package with a section of the carrier stock shown in FIG. 1;"
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of two of the containers and a section of the carrier stock of FIG. 2 applied thereto;
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of another embodiment of the invention:
FIG. 5 is an enlarged top plan view of the carrier structure of FIG. 4 shown as applied to form a unitary package of four containers such as cans;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the upper portion of the package arrangement of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the structure shown in FIG. 4, and taken substantially along the line 7-7 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 8 is a top plan view of another embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a section of the carrier stock of FIG. 8 applied to a group of four cans;
FIG. 10 is an enlarged cross-sectional view of the structure shown in FIG. 8 and taken substantially along the line l0l0 of FIG. 8; A
FIG. 11 is a top plan view of another embodiment of FIG. 12 is a perspective viewof the upper portion of a group of six bottles with the carrier of FIG. I 1 applied thereto; and I FIG. 13 is an enlargedcross-sectional view of the structure shown in FIG. 11 and taken substantially along the line 13-13 of FIG. 1].
DETAILED DESCRIPTION. OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS In all ofthe embodiments of the invention, the extruded ribbons forming the container encircling bands are relatively thin and relatively wide vertically oriented ribbons. This essential construction can be clearly seen in FIGS. 7, 10 and 13.
The preferred material of the invention is any suitable plastic material that can be extruded as ribbons which will in the molten or semi-molten states fuse when the faces of the ribbons are brought together. The
preferred plastic material is further selected as one which is sufficiently resilient and deformable at normal ambient temperatures to form a suitable carrier device. One such material presently commercially available is low density polyethylene. Other plastic materials which maybe used are listed in the above noted patent to Schultheiss, Pat. No. 3,242,023.
The reason for maintaining the thin vertically oriented ribbon shape for the container encircling bands is that a unitary package of the carrier and a plurality of containers is intended to be carried by a person holding the carrier with the containers depending therefrom, and'it is therefore important that the container encircling bands grip the side walls' of the containers with a maximum frictional gripping force. A maximum frictional gripping force is attained when for a given cross-sectional area ofthe band, the greatest possible area of the inner face of the band is in embracing physical contact with the outer circumferential surface of the container while avoiding making the band so thin that the elastic limits of the material are exceeded when the band is stretched and applied about the containers. In reductions to practice of my invention with low density polyethylene, I have found that a ratio of thickness to face width of 1:15-30 will produce excellent results in frictional gripping forces of the polyethylene bands on containers such as cans. In those reductions to practice l have used ribbons which were about 0.010 inches thick.
I have further found in reducing my invention to practice that by virtue of my extending and fusing the plastic ribbons, the fusion lines between ribbons are not sharp as generally occurs when plastic material is slit to produce a carrier device, but are curvilinear surfaces having locus axes parallel to the axes of the bands. This unexpected result is important when one considers the stretching of the bands in applying them about the containers. As is well known, most plastic materials have what is generally called low notch resistance. In other words, most plastic materials when previously cut to produce a product will be notched, and when stretched, will be relatively weak at such notches to produce tears or to separate at the notches. However, the extruded carriers of my invention by not having such notches or their equivalent on the vertically oriented fusion lines between the ribbons, uniquely and unexpectedly produce strong and economical carriers in relatively thin cross-sectional dimensions. The important resistance to tearing also occurs in the embodiments of my invention wherein handle arrangements are extruded and fused as integral parts of the carriers.
In FIG. 1 of the drawings, container carrier stock made according to my invention is shown in plan view. Four plastic ribbons 10 are simultaneously extruded and while in a molten or semi-molten state are brought together and separated in a repeating pattern to produce fused sections 11 and 12. The fused sections 11 between adjacent ribbons l produce a plurality of transverse pairs of container encircling bands. The inner peripheral measurement of the defined container encircling bands is less than the circumference of the containers, such as containers 13 in FIGS. 2 and 3 with which the carrier is to be associated so that the container encircling bands must be stretched when applied about the containers 13. The fused sections 11 have a length sufficient to provide chime-to-chime separation of adjacent containers 13. The fused sections 11 further have a length sufficient to permit cutting or severing of the fused sections 11 substantially longitudinally midway thereof to permit the carrier stock of FIG. 1 to be cut into individual carriers of any selected number of pairs of container encircling bands.
The fused sections 12 are located between the adjacent ribbons of adjacent container encircling bands to form the container carrier stock as pairs of transversely arranged, and longitudinally extending container encircling bands.
FIG. 2 shows the container carrier stock severed at four fused sections 11 to provide a container carrier for six containers 13.
The container carrier stock may be severed between any selected transverse pairs of fused sections 11 to provide a carrier for any selected number of pairs of containers. FIG. 3 shows a carrier for a single pair of containers 13. As shown in FIG. 3, the carrier has been stretched and applied about the pair of cans 13 immediately below the upper chimes 14-of the containers 13. Generally, the chimes 14 serve to lock the carrier on the container 13 against accidental slipping of the carrier from the containers 13 when the unitary package of the carrier and containers is transported. However, the present invention contemplates that the gripping force of the container encircling bands upon the outer surface of the containers be great enough to prevent accidental slipping of the containers from the carrier under normal handling and transport conditions. As may be seen in FIG. 3, the fused sections 11 shown therein are substantially twice the cross-sectional area of the ribbons l0, and the face width of the ribbons 10 is many times greater than the thickness of the ribbons 10. This construction and arrangement in combination with the resiliency of the plastic material provides for a maximum frictional gripping force of the container encircling bands on .the containers 13 with a minimum of material.
In the embodiment of FIGS. 4-7, four plastic ribbons 20 are simultaneously extruded with a cord member 21. As extruded, the ribbons 20 are periodically brought together and moved apart in a repeating pattern and in bonding contact with a longitudinally moving cord member 21 to fuse the ribbons 20 and bond the cord member 21 thereto to form the container'carrier stock as shown in FIG. 4. It is contemplated that the cord member 21 need not be a plastic material but may be any suitable material which may be bonded to the ribbons 20 as shown in the drawing.
The fused sections between the ribbons 20 which form the ribbons 20 into the container encircling bands are indicated at 22.
The integral inter-connection of the container encircling bands of each pair of bands, and with the cord member 21, is made by maintaining the ribbons 20 together in the molten or semi-molten state, and with the cord member 21, for a substantial length of time to produce the fused sections 23 and form the carrier stock configuration shown in FIG. 4. As may be seen in FIG. 4, 5 and 6, the cord member 21 from one fused section 23 to the next fused section 23 is of such a length relative to the length of the ribbons 20 between the fused sections 22 that when the container encircling bands are stretched and applied to the containers 13 the noted portion of the cord member 21 will form a loop as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. When the container carrier stock is severed through the longitudinal center of the fused sections 22, and through the cord member 21 at appropriate positions, a container carrier of any selected number of pairs of container encircling bands is provided. FIGS. 5 and 6 show'a cutting of the container carrier stock to form an individual container carrier for four containers 13. In that arrangement, the looped section of the cord member 21 provides a convenient finger hold which will function as a handle for carrying the unitary package. Obviously, if the container carrier stock is severed at locations providing for a carrier for three or more pairs of containers 13, a finger hold or loop will be provided between each group of two pairs of containers 13.
The ribbons 20 of the embodiments of FIGS. 4-7 are extruded to be dimensioned substantially as previously described and in FIG. 7, it may be seen that the fused section 23 is twice the thickness of the ribbons 20.
The embodiment of the invention shown in FIGS. 8-10 differs from that of FIGS. 4-7 in that the handle a member 31 which integrally joins the container encircling bands of eachpair of bands is formed of the same A "material as the four ribbons 30 and is extruded contemporaneously with the ribbons 30. As in the previously described embodiments, the individual containerencircling bands areformed by the fused sections 32 at spaced positions longitudinally of the ribbons 30. The handle member 31 is extruded substantially as a ribbon in a plane perpendicular to the planes of extrusion of the ribbons 30 and is fused to the upper edge of adjacent ribbons 30 as may be seen in the enlarged crosssectional view in FIG. 10. The handle member 31 has a width sufficient to provide convenient chime-tochime separation of containers 13 as shown in FIG. 9. The container carrier stock of FIG. 8 is severed through the fused sections 32, and through the handle member 31 at convenient positions, to produce a con- .tainer carrier for any selected number of pairs of containers 13. FIG. 9 shows the container stock of FIG. 8 severed, stretched and applied about the containers 13 to form a unitary package of four containers 13 with the carrier. Again, as in the embodiment of FIGS. 4-7, the handle member 31 will form a convenient finger loop between each group of two pairs of containers when the carrier is stretched and applied to the containers l3.
The carrier stock in the embodiment of FIGS. 11-13 differs from that of the previously described embodiments in the lengthof the fused sections 41 between the container encircling bands formed by the ribbons 40, and in the formation of the handle arrangement. The carrier stock of FIGS. 11-13 is primarily intended for containers such as bottles 42 which have reduced neck portions.
The ribbons 40 are extruded and the fused sections 41 are fused to have a length sufficient to extend from the reduced neck portion of one bottle 42 to the reduced neck portion of the corresponding bottle 42 in the next pair of bottles 42 when the container encircling bands formed by the ribbons 40 are stretched and applied over the reduced necks of the bottles 42 as shown in FIG. 12. i g v The handle arrangement for the carrier stock of FIGS. 11-13 comprises a plurality of ribbons 43, 44, which are extruded contemporaneously with and are of the same material as the ribbons 40. The extrusion of the handle arrangement as shown in the embodiment of the drawing is discontinuous, because the ribbons 43 and 44, which are fused at 45, are fused to the ribbons 40 at spaced-apart positions longitudinally of the ribbons 40. However,,the present embodiment does contemplate that the ribbons 43 and 44 may be extruded continuously with the ribbons 40.
The carrier stock of FIG. 11 is intended to be severed at appropriate positions through the fused sections 41 and 45 to produce a carrier of any selected number of pairs of container encircling bands, and the container encircling bands are then stretched and applied to containers such as bottles 42 as may be seen in FIG. 12. The fused sections 45 of the ribbons 43 and 44 provide convenient finger gripping means to function as a handle for transporting the unitary package of containers 42 with the associated carrier.
Having described the invention, it is to be understood that changes can be made in the described embodiments by one skilled in the art within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the claims.
I claim: v
l. A multiple container carrier comprising a plurality of at least four extruded plastic vertically oriented ribbons formed from a resilient deformable plastic material extruded in a semi-molten to molten state, a first pair of said ribbons having transversely face-fused joints at certain positions linearly of said ribbons, a second pair of said ribbons having transversely face-fused joints at certain positions linearly of said ribbons, one of said ribbons of each of said first and second pairs of said ribbons having transversely face-fused joints at positions intermediate said face-fused joints of said first and second pairs of said ribbons to define a plurality of integral bands capable of encircling a plurality of containers with the inner faces of said bands positioned against the circumferential surfaces of said containers, said ribbons having a ratio of thickness to face width producing a substantially maximum frictional gripping force of said bands on said containers against movement in a direction axially of said containers when said bands are stretched and applied about said containers, and the end surfaces of said face-fused joints between said ribbons being curvilinear surfaces having a locus axis parallel to the axes of said bands as a result of being extruded and face-fused in said semi-molten to molten state.
2. A multiple container carrier as defined in claim 1, wherein a handle member is integrally secured between at least two of said bands.
3. A multiple container carrier as defined in claim 1, wherein said plurality of ribbons are arranged to form a plurality of pairs of oppositely arranged container encircling bands. I
4. A multiple container carrier as defined in claim 3, wherein a handle member is integrally secured to said ribbons to extend longitudinally of the carrier between the bands of each pair of said bands.
5. A multiple container carrier as defined in claim 4, wherein the portion of said handle member extending between two adjacent pairs of said bands has a length substantially greater than the center-to-center distance between the corresponding containers of adjacent pairs of containers when said bands are stretched and applied about said containers.
. 6. A multiple container carrier as defined in claim 3,
wherein a cord-like handle member of a substantially non-resilient material is bonded to said ribbons on the line of contiguity of the bands of each pair of said band's.
' 7. A multiple container carrier as defined in claim 3, an extruded handle member of the same material as said ribbons, and fused joints between said handle member and the bands of each pair of bands longitudinally of the carrier, said fused joints between said handle member and said bands terminating in curvilinear bands terminating in curvilinear surfaces as a result of being extruded and fused in a semi-molten to molten state, said second plurality of ribbons of said handle arrangement having lengths suffieient to permit said bands to be stretched and applied about the reduced neck portions of a plurality of containers when said containers are bottles having reduced neck portions.