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Publication numberUS3820655 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 28, 1974
Filing dateMar 24, 1972
Priority dateMar 24, 1972
Publication numberUS 3820655 A, US 3820655A, US-A-3820655, US3820655 A, US3820655A
InventorsLa Tourette C, Mullen P
Original AssigneeConsolidated Eureka Paperbox I, Mullen P, Rx Pak Co, Tourette C
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Article holding and dispensing container
US 3820655 A
Images(3)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 La T ourette et al.

[111 3,820,655 June 28, 1974 ARTICLE HOLDING AND DISPENSING CONTAINER [75] lnventors: Charles La Tourette, Los Alamitos;

Patrick E. Mullen, Los Angeles, both of Calif.

[22] Filed: Mar. 24, I972 [21] Appl. No.: 237,772

[52] US. Cl. 206/42, 206/56 AC, 229/20 [51] Int. Cl. 865d 83.04 [58] Field of Search 206/42, 56 R, 56 AC, 78 B,

Primary EraminerWilliam I. Price Assistant Examiner-Steven E. Lipman 1571 ABSTRACT A container for holding and dispensing individual articles has a transparent compartmented article holding tray with an associated frangible closure formed from a single sheet of material with individual, separable pull tabs maintained in operable pre-pulled closed condition relative to said tray by an associated cover having dispensing apertures aligned to the tray compartments normally closed by said pull tabs. The pull tabs are provided with indicia on an underside viewable through the transparent bottoms of the tray compartments to facilitate noting the number of articles dispensed and/or retained in the tray. In one version of the container, the closure, cover and associated panels forming a sleeve-like body foldable about the tray with end closing flaps are die cut from a single sheet of paper stock or plastic material. In another version, a cover panel, with dispensing apertures cut therein is secured directly to top portions of the dispensing tray with the closure positioned therebetween, the associated pull tabs lying in guide channels formed in upper portions of the tray. In each version of the container disclosed, the pull tabs of the closure comprise one or more individual longitudinally extending tabs formed integrally of one another from a sheet of material with non-cut interconnecting portions of that material joining such tabs while in their assembled tray closing position prior to pulling of any one or more of the tabs for sequential dispensing of individual articles from the associated tray compartments, such interconnections being frangible upon manual pulling of associated ends of said tabs.

7 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures JTJ BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates in general to article holding and dispensing containers and more particularly to a medication or pill holding and dispensing container which allows visual observation of each discrete article or pill contained therein and an easily accountable sequential dispensing of individual articles or pills therefrom.

Various types of pill or article holding and dispensing containers have been made heretofore which included blister packages secured to cardboard or paper backin gs with appropriate tear strips or side panels for opening thereof, as in the prior US. Pat. Nos. 2,968,391; 3,327,843; and 3,367,491. Other containers have had plastic article holding bodies with assembled portions including separately formed slide openers or tear strip portions as in U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,255,331; 3,393,794; 3,537,422; and 2,780,349. Various other holders or packages for holding and dispensing individual articles or pills are disclosed in the prior US. Pat. Nos. 2,324,228; 2,411,471; 2,921,672; 3,203,541; and 3,302,775.

It is believed that the containers of the aforementioned prior patents are not fully satisfactory in that many require fabrication from individually molded plastic parts which must be assembled in an expensive and complicated manner, others require complicated manipulation for moving sealing tear strips and move ment of a tray or holder relative to a surrounding sleeve for dispensing of an individual contained article or pill while others do not provide for a visual observation of the contained article or pill from one side of the container with an easy sequential controlled dispensing of individual articles from the other side of the container. It is a primary object of the present invention to disclose and provide a container for receiving and maintaining individual articles or medication, such as pills, in a controlled accountable condition within a compartmented tray which is easily manufactured and operated for dispensing individual items therefrom when desired in a sequential known manner from one side of the container while the user can observe the contents of each compartment of the tray as well as the item being dispensed from an opposite side of the container.

It is another object of the present invention to disclose and provide a container as in the foregoing object wherein the container is formed from a single sheet'of foldable material for surrounding and retaining a plastic transparent compartmented tray with view apertures, dispensing ports and closure means all formed integrally of said sheet material.

It is an important object of the present invention to disclose and provide closure panel means for overlying and enclosing a compartmented tray wherein integrally formed pull tab means are formed out of and separated over virtually their entire length thereof from the surrounding panel with frangible interconnections with such panel for holding the pull tab means in closed assembled relation to the tray and its compartments preparatory to being pulled by the user for selective, sequential dispensing of articles from the tray.

These and other objects of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from a consideration of the detailed description of the preferred exemplary embodiments of the improvement in article dispensing container of the present invention presented hereinafter.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Generally stated, the improvement in article dispensing container of the present invention comprises the provision of a closure panel means for overlying and closing individual compartments of a compartmented transparent holder or tray with one or more pull tab means formed integrally out of and separated over virtually their entire length from the surrounding body of the panel means. Frangible interconnecting means are provided between and integral of the pull tab means and body of the panel means to maintain the pull tab means in assembled relation overlying the tray with another overlying apertured cover panel preparatory to being pulled by a user thereof for selective, sequential dispensing of articles from the tray through the closure panel.

In one form of the invention, the closure panel means is formed integrally of a sheet of material foldable into a sleeve-like container surrounding and encasing the compartmented tray with view apertures formed in a bottom panel portion thereof for underlying bottom surfaces of the tray compartments, dispensing ports formed in a top panel portion thereof for lying exteriorally of the closure panel means aforedescribed and suitable side panels and end closure flaps. In another form of the invention, the aforesaid closure panel means is provided with an overlying apertured cover or dispensing port panel means with both means being secured to the top of a dispensing tray by adhesive or other bonding means therebetween. In this latter form of the invention, the pull tab means ride in guide tracks formed by opposed shoulders formed in and longitudinally along the rows of compartments in the tray with the interconnecting means also functioning as a stop means against one edge of the tray to prevent pulling of the pull tabs until they are individually broken away from such interconnecting means.

A more complete understanding of the invention in article dispensing container herein will be afforded to those skilled in the art from a consideration of the following detailed explanation of exemplary embodiments thereof. Reference will be made to the appended sheets of drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a bottom plan view of a'preferred examplary embodimentof article dispensing container in accordance with our present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top plan view, partially in section, of the container of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a plan view of the container of FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrated in unfolded, planar condition prior to being folded into the condition illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2;

FIG. 4 is a section view of the container of FIG. 1 taken therein along the plane lV-IV;

FIG. 5 is a view of the container of FIG. 4 showing a pull tab means partially withdrawn to allow the dispensing of a single article therefrom;

FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the container of FIG. 1 taken therein along the plane VI-VI;

FIG. 7 is a bottom plan view of an alternative exemplary embodiment of article dispensing container according to the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of the container of FIG. 7 taken therein along the plane VIlI--VIII;

FIG. 9 is a detail view of a section of the container of FIG. 7 taken therein along the plane IXIX; and

FIG. 10 is a detail section view of the container of FIG. 7 taken therein along the plane X-X.

A detailed explanation of a preferred exemplary embodiment of the present improvement in article dispensing container will now be made. Referring firstly to FIG. 3, the preferred exemplary embodiment of dispensing container is primarily formed from a single sheet of material, indicated generally at 10, which may be made from paper stock, cardboard, plastic sheet or other suitable material which can be die cut and folded to shape as hereinafter explained.

The single sheet of material, indicated generally at 10, is preferably made of a paper product and is die cut to provide four main panel areas 11, 12, 13 and 14, as seen in FIG. 3 which are separated by smaller panels and 16. Panel 11 is a top panel of the container, as seen in FIG. 2, while panel 12 is the bottom panel of the container as seen in FIG. 1. Panel 13 is a closure panel having integrally formed pull tab means. Panel 14 is a guide panel underlying the closure panel 13 as best seen in FIGS. 4 through 6. The smaller panels 15 and 16 provide opposing side panels of the container. In folding the sheet of material indicated generally at 10, into its configuration of FIGS. 1,. 2 and 4 through 6, the guide panel 14 is folded along score line 17 under and secured, as by adhesive means, to the under side of closure panel 13 in areas thereof which do not interfere with the operation of the integrally formed pull tab means described hereinafter. Panels 16, 12, 15 and 11 are folded, at score lines 18, 19, 20 and 21, to provide the side, bottom side and top cover panels, respectively, with top panel 11 overlying the closure panel 13.

When the container is folded into the condition of FIGS. 1 and 2, its opposite ends are closed by otherwise conventional mating end flaps. As seen in FIG. 3, the bottom panel 12 is provided with end flaps 22 and 23 having cutouts 24 and 25, respectively. The closure panel 13 is provided with mating tongue flaps 26 and 27 for folding into engagement with the cutouts 24, of flaps 22 and 23, respectively, as seen in the assembled sectional views of FIGS. 4 and 5.

The container of FIGS. 1 through 6 is adapted to receive a pill or article holder such as the illustrated compartmented plastic tray 30 as seen in FIGS. 1, 4, 5 and 6. Tray 30 is of generally conventional configuration in the embodiment of FIGS. 1 through 6 with a plurality of rows of compartments 31 separated by top plateau or flat surfaces 32 formed between the compartments. Each compartment 31 is provided with a bottom wall 33. The tray may be formed from a single sheet of plastic material, preferably transparent, by known heat forming methods. The compartments 31 are sometimes referred to as bubbles and are adapted to receive individual or discrete articles such as medications, pills and the like. As seen in FIGS. 4 and 5, such tray 30 may be pre-filled with pills or the like and placed into the container, through one of the ends thereof, prior to folding the adjacent end flaps into the closed position shown in FIG. 4..

In the exemplary embodiment, the bottom panel 12 is provided with a plurality of view apertures 44), preferably in aligned roWs as seen in FIGS. 1 and 3 with each aperture 40 aligned to a bottom surface 33 of a corresponding compartment 31 of tray 31). Viewing apertures 40 facilitate viewing the presence, or absence, of an article within the corresponding compartment 31. As explained hereinafter, the individual or discrete articles contained in each of the compartments 31 may be dispensed out of the top of the inverted container while the user or operator can view the articles within the compartments through the view apertures 40 in the bottom panel of the container.

Top panel surface 11, of the exemplary emiment of container of FIGS. 1 through 6, is provided with a plurality of preferably rectangular article dispensing apertures 41 in three rows thereof, as seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, to align with the open ends of the three rows of compartments 31 of tray 30. The dispensing apertures or ports 41 or top panel 11 are closed by the closure panel 13. Guide panel 14, as seen in FIGS. 2 and 3, is also provided with a plurality of dispensing apertures or ports 42 in three aligned rows thereof to mate or aling with the dispensing ports 41 of top panel 11. Thus, as seen in FIGS. 4, 5, or 6, an article contained within any one of the three rows of tray compartments 31 can be dispensed through the panels 11 and 14, via ports 41 and 42, upon opening of the closure panel, the construction and operation of which is particularly contemplated within the present invention.

Closure panel 13 is provided as a means for closing the outwardly opening compartments 31 of the article holding device or tray, as tray 30, placed within the folded container. As particularly contemplated within the present invention, the closure means includes one or more pull tabs formed integrally of the material of panel 13. Referring to FIG. 3, in this exemplary embodiment, three longitudinally extending pull tabs or slide members 50, 51 and 52 are formed out of the material of panel 13. In the exemplary embodiment, each pull tab 50, 51 and 52 is die cut from the surrounding material of the panel over virtually its entire length except for frangible interconnections left between each tab and panel, generally obtained by putting a nick or small cutout in the knife edge of the cutting die employed. As shown in FIG. 3 the main body of each pull tab is cut out along the die cut-out lines 53, 54 and 55, respectively, with head portions of each tab formed by the die cuts 56, 57 and 58, respectively, as best seen in FIG. 3. The frangible interconnections, each indicated generally at 59, are provided in the panel 13 between the pull tabs 50, 51 and 52 and the main body of panel 13 to retain and maintain each pull tab in its position of longitudinal adjustment relative to panel 13 in the closed condition.

In operation, the assembly of container and tray is normally maintained in a closed condition, as seen in FIGS. 1, 2 and 4 by the closure panel means 13 with its respective pull tabs 50, 51 and 52 in closed condition, interconnected to the main body of panel 13. Individual articles, such as pills or other medication within the pre-filled tray 30, are viewable through the bottom panel apertures 40 and the transparent bottom surfaces 33 of the tray. An individual article, or pill, can then be selectively dispensed, beginning with the first article of any particular row, by pulling the respective pull tab outwardly of the container. The interconnections, indicated generally at 59, are small enough to be broken away, i.e. they are frangible, by the user pulling on the head end of any one of the tabs 50, 51 or '52.

The successive registration of each pull tab 50, 51 and 52 with the associated dispensing apertures 41, 42 is facilitated by the provision of an offset portion, groove, or detent 6t), 61 and 62, as seen in FIGS. 2, 3, 4 and 5. The bottom surfaces of each of the pull tabs 50, 51 and 52 may be provided with indicia, such as numbers or letters,-to correspond with each of the tray compartments 31 so that the operator or user can visually observe the number of the compartments and whether the particular pill, medication or article for the corresponding number is contained therein or whether it has been dispensed.

Referring now to FIGS. '7 through 10, an alternative exemplary embodiment of article dispensing container, according to the present invention, is illustrated and will now be described. In this alternative exemplary embodiment, a modified form of transparent tray 130 having otherwise conventional compartments 131 in spaced rows thereof, each having a bottom wall 133, has its top or plateau surfaces 132 modified, as best seen in FIG. 8, to provide a pair of opposed recessed shoulders 170 and 171 running longitudinally of each row of compartments of the tray. As particularly con templated within the invention and as embodied in this alternative exemplary embodiment, the frangible closure means includes pull tab means which ride on the shoulders in compartment closing relationship to the tray as explained more fully hereinafter. In addition, in this alternative exemplary embodiment, the closure means is maintained in assembled relationship upon the top surfaces of the tray by top or cover panel 111, as seen in FIGS. 7 through 10 wherein the tray is illustrated in an inverted position to facilitate dispensing of contained articles therefrom upon manipulation of the closure means in accordance with the present inventlon.

Referring to FIG. 7, theclosure panel means 113 is preferably formed from a single sheet of material, as panel 13 in the previously described embodiment, with one or more pull tab portions as the pull tabs 150, 151 and 152. Each of these tabs 150, 151 and 152 is separated over virtually its entire length from the surrounding sheet of material it is formed out of, as by die cutting from paper or plastic sheet stock, with the rear,

ends thereof secured by an integrally formed interconnecting portion 159 of panel 113. Panel 113 is perforated at 180, 181 and 182, the junctions between each tab and interconnecting portion 159, in order to facilitate the release of each pull tab for dispensing of the articles from the associated tray compartments. Longitudinally extending perforations, indicated generally at 183 and 184 in interconnecting portion 159 facilitate the users releasing individual tabs by separating any one or more of the three sections of interconnecting portion 159, defined by the aforementioned perforations, from the remaining sections and associated tabs. In addition, the cover panel 113 is preferably provided with longitudinally extending perforations, indicated generally at 185 and 186, to facilitate the separation of an individual row of compartments of tray 130, and the associated pull tab means, from the rest of the container.

As best seen in FIG. 9, the pull tabs of panel 113 may not be pulled to the left in FIGS. 7 and 9, in a tab release motion, prior to breaking sections of the interconnecting portion 159 away from the tab, due to the abutment between forward wall portions, as wall 187 in FIG. 9, of portion 159 and the plateau portion 132 of tray 130. After a section of interconnecting portion 159, of panel 113, is broken away to release a pull tab, as in FIG. 10, its successive registration along its path of withdrawal with regard to each tray compartment 131 is facilitated through the provision of the offset or detent portion formed in each tab. As seen from a comparison of FIGS. 8 and 10, each of the pull tabs 150, 151 and 152 is adapted, by the aforedescribed construction, to be slidable within a recessed track or guideway formed in tray 130 by the opposed longitudinally extending shoulders and 171 with the overlying cover panel 111 having dispensing ports 141 retaining each pull tab in its operable compartment closing relation to tray 130 until an associated section of interconnecting portion 159 is broken away and the pull tab is pulled along its guideway under cover panel 111. Cover panel 111 may be secured to the plateau portions 132, and outer rim 134 by suitable adhesive means. Alternatively, heat sealable strips of plastic material may be provided on the underside of cover panel 111 between ports 141 and be heat sealed to the plateau and rim portions of tray 1311..

From the aforegoing detailed descriptions of a preferred exemplary embodiment, and an alternative exemplary embodiment, of the article dispensing con- .tainer, accordingto the present invention, it can be seen by those skilled in the art that. discrete articles may be maintained in a controlled accountable condition within a compartmented tray and easily dispensed therefrom when desired in a sequential known manner downwardly of the container while the user can observe the contents of the container and status of dispensing of the contents thereof through the view apertures in the top surface of the container. More importantly, the closure means provided is formed integrally of a panel means of the container, maintained in a secure closed condition in a convenient and inexpensive manner of construction and is ready for operation in a new and novel manner upon the user pulling the tabs as desired for dispensing articles from the container constructed in accordance with the present invention.

Those skilled in the art should appreciate that other modifications, alterations and adaptations of the present container can be made within the scope and spirit of the present invention which is defined and limited only by the following claims.

We claim:

1. In an article holding and dispensing container construction having a compartmented article receiving tray, the improvement in container body comprising the provision of:

closure panel means overlying said tray with frangible means therein for selectively and sequentially opening said tray compartments; and

dispensing panel means overlying said closure panel and including a plurality of dispensing ports, each aligned to a compartment of said tray;

said frangible means including at least one breakaway tab associated with said closure panel means slidable beneath said dispensing panel means to selectively open and close associated tray compartments for dispensing articles individually and sequentially'from said tray compartments through said ports, said breakaway tab being formed out of the body of said closure panel and being cut free of said closure panel body over virtually its entire length with breakable interconnecting frangible portions left between said tab and body.

2. In an article holding and dispensing container construction having a compartmented article receiving tray, the improvement in container body comprising the provision of:

closure panel means overlying said tray with frangible means therein for selectively and sequentially opening said tray compartments;

dispensing panel means overlying said closure panel and including a plurality of dispensing ports, each aligned to a compartment of said tray;

said frangible means being operable beneath said dispensing panel means for dispensing articles individually and sequentially from said tray compartments through said ports; and

wherein said closure panel means and dispensing panel means are formed from the same integral sheet of material which is folded in sleeve-like manner about said tray to place the panel means in said overlying relation to one another and over said tray.

3. The improvement in article holding and dispensing container of claim 2 wherein said tray bottom is transparent and wherein:

a panel portion of said sheet of material forms a bottom side of said container and is provided with view apertures therein aligned to the undersides of compartments of said tray, the contained articles thereby being viewable through said apertures while dispensed through said ports.

4. In an article holding and dispensing container construction having a compartmented article receiving tray, the improvement comprising the provision of:

closure panel means overlying said tray with frangible means therein for selectively and sequentially opening said tray compartments;

dispensing panel means overlying said closure panel and including a plurality of dispensing ports, each aligned to a compartment of said tray;

said frangible means being operable beneath said dispensing panel means for dispensing articles individually and sequentially from said tray compartments through said ports;

said closure panel means including one or more pull tab means formed out of the body of said panel, each said tab means being cut free of said panel body over virtually its entire length with breakable interconnecting frangible portions left between said tab means and body; and

wherein said tray is provided with opposed pairs of recessed guide shoulders extending longitudinally along each row of compartments of said tray; and

each said pull-tab means is initially positioned between an associated pair of said recessed guide shoulders in compartment closing relation to said compartments.

5. An improvement in article dispensing container having an outwardly opening compartmented tray for receiving a plurality of discrete articles comprising the provision of:

closure panel means for overlying and closing said tray and the compartments therein, said panel means including one or more pull-tab means formed out of and separated over virtually the entire length thereof from said panel means with frangible interconnections between and integral of said pull-tab means and panel means;

means for holding said closure panel means in assembled relation on said tray; and

wherein:

said tray is provided with recessed shoulder means longitudinally of a row of compartments for receiving and guiding a pull-tab means therebetween in compartment closing relation; said pull-tabs are located in between said recessed shoulder means closing said compartments; and

said holding means comprises an apertured panel bonded to said tray in overlying relation to said pull-tab means, apertures of said holding means panel being aligned to corresponding compartments of said tray.

6. An improvement in article dispensing container having an outwardly opening compartmented tray for receiving a plurality of discrete articles comprising the provision of;

closure panel means for overlying and closing said tray and the compartments therein, said panel means including one or more pull-tab means formed out of and separated over virtually the entire length thereof from said panel means with frangible interconnections between and integral of said pull-tab means and panel means;

means for holding said closure panel means in assembled relation on said tray; wherein said closure panel and holding means are both formed out of a single integral sheet of material including at least four panel portions folded into a four sided sleeve about said tray, one of said portions being said closure panel overlying said tray and the other portions being an opposite side and two adjacent sides to said closure panel.

7. The improvement in article dispensing container f a m 9 whe n .sa trax c mra tm are trans' parent and said opposite side portion is non-transparent and provided with a plurality of viewing apertures aligned to the compartments of said tray to facilitate viewing the articles in said tray through said apertures from a side thereof opposite to the closure panel side through which articles are dispensible.

Referenced by
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US4169531 *Aug 18, 1977Oct 2, 1979Packaging Components Industries, Inc.Plastic container with individual product pockets
US5954202 *Mar 4, 1998Sep 21, 1999Westvaco CorporationPaperboard blank for a self-contained, reclosable package
US6705487 *Sep 28, 2001Mar 16, 2004Jv Medi Co., Ltd.Assistance tray for manual distribution used in medicine sharing and packing device
US6779663 *Feb 6, 2002Aug 24, 2004Powell John PocsiSystem and method for loading pills into a pillbox
US7451583May 29, 2007Nov 18, 2008Jvm Co., Ltd.Automatic medicine packaging machine with door lock unit
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US7699173 *May 12, 2004Apr 20, 2010Meadwestvaco CorporationChild resistant blister package
US7780009Feb 27, 2004Aug 24, 2010Eveready Battery Company, Inc.Modular battery package
US7894656May 29, 2007Feb 22, 2011Jvm Co., LtdMethod and apparatus for inspecting manual dispensing tray of automatic medicine packaging machine
US7967143 *Feb 24, 2009Jun 28, 2011F.M. Howell & CompanyMulti-layered child resistant blister package
US8239214Jan 26, 2007Aug 7, 2012Jvm Co., Ltd.Method and apparatus for backing up power failure for automatic medicine packing machine
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US20110163156 *Jul 8, 2009Jul 7, 2011Meadwestvaco CorporationPackaging system with lockable easy load inner sleeve
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Classifications
U.S. Classification206/532, 206/539, 206/459.5
International ClassificationB65D83/04
Cooperative ClassificationB65D83/0445
European ClassificationB65D83/04C