US 3820678 A
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United States Patent [191 Zipper et al.
[111 3,820,678 June 28, 1974 TAMPER-PROOF CLOSURE  Inventors: Donald H. Zipper, Western Springs; Elmer J. Boik, Lombard, both of Ill.
 Assignee: Continental Can Company, Inc.,
 Filed: Sept. 5, 1972 [211 App]. No.: 286,178
 US. Cl. 215/40, 215/46 A [5 l] Int. Cl. 865g 67/02  Field of Search 215/40, 41, 7, 46 R, 46 A  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 8/l969 Powalowski et al. 215/46 A X 9/1972 Westfall et al 2l5/4O Primary Examiner-George T. Hall Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Lockwood, Dewey, Zickert & Alex rather than outwardly. An annular gasket is located within the shell at the outer margin of the top panel. As a second part, a plastic fitment or retainer is provided for the lid in the form of a ring or band body having an outer lift ring circumferentially spaced and integrally connected to the band body at a connection that serves as a hinge and at circumferentially spaced frangible connections. The inner ring or band body has an inner annular groove with an upper lip extending somewhat over the circumferential bead or curl on the bottom of the lid skirt so as to retain the parts in assembled relationship. When the frangible connections between the outer lift ring and the inner ring or band body are broken the outer lift ring can be pulled upwardly to first break the vacuum seal between the gasket and the top seal finish of a container and then to completely pull the composite closurefrom the container mouth. Preferably, the: ring or band body is provided with a plurality of circumferentially spaced inner lugs that cooperate with an undercut or downwardly facing shoulder on a container for mechanically retaining the composite closure cap in place thereon either before a vacuum seal has been formed or after the cap has been reclosed following removal from a sealed package. A continuous flange may be used in lieu of the spaced inner lugs. If desired, the spaced inner lugs or continuous flange may be relied on to retain the composite cap in place in a hermetically sealed relation without presence of a vacuum.
5 Claims, 6 Drawing, Figures PATENTEI] JUN 2 81974 SHEET 1 0F 2 This invention relates generally to innovations and improvements in composite closure caps exhibiting tamper-proof and re-closure capabilities for vacuum sealed containers or packages. More specifically, the invention relates to innovations and improvements in such composite closures which comprise a gasketed lid capable of providing a vacuum seal by itself and a plastic retainer or fitment for the lid which provides tamperproof means for breaking the vacuum seal and removal of the lid and also a means for re-closing the lid or closure on a container so as to serve as a reclosure once the original vacuum seal has been broken.
Composite closure caps comprising gasketed closure lids and plastic fitments with lift rings of the above general type are disclosed in Powalowski and Westfall U.S. Pat. No. 3,460,701 dated Aug. 12, 1969, and U.S. Pat. No. 3,656,648 dated Apr. 18, 1972 and in Westfall et al., Ser. No. 167,151 filed July 29, 1971, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,690,499.
The composite caps may also be used to maintain hermeticseals without the assistance of a vacuum as will be described.
In the composite closure caps of these prior patents theupper portion of a plastic fitment skirt extends to the top of the lid panel and the lift ring lies Hat on top of the lid panel prior to its being broken loose and employed to break the vacuum seal and then pull the closure lid from its seat. In the composite closure caps of the present invention the topmost portion of the plastic retainer or fitment is appreciably beneath the top panel of the closure lidand no portion of the plastic retainer or fitment extends over the closure lid panel. Accordingly, when the shells of the closure lids are formed of a magnetic material such as tin plate, a commonly used metal, with the top panel of the closure lid completely exposed above the plastic retainer or fitment, conventional electro-magnetic equipment may be employed in transferring packages.
The plastic retainer or fitment of the composite closure caps of the present invention takes the form of a plastic ring or band body portion having an inner annular groove with an'upper inwardly extending lip for snapping over and retaining in seated relationship in the groove the circumferential curl or head on the bottom edge of the skirt portion of the closure lid or shell. In addition the ring or band body is surrounded in annular spaced relationship by a lift ring which is integrally hinged to the ring or band body at one circumferential location and frangibly connected at circumferentially spaced locations. Preferably the ring or band body portion carries at the bottom a plurality of circumferentially spaced inner lugs for engaging under a circumferential downwardly facing shoulder provided by a bead or under-cut on the exterior of a container neck or finish. If desired, these lugs can be joined together in a continuous flange. These inwardly extending lugs or continuous flange serve to mechanically retain the composite closure in place both before a vacuum seal is formed and perfected-and later after the vacuum seal has been broken, the composite closure cap removed for partial consumption of the packaged contents and then used as a closure. In packages where hermetic seals are formed without the presence of vacuum in the head space, the spaced inner lugs or continous flange may be relied on to retain the composite caps in place both in hermetically sealed relationship and in the reclosed relationship.
The object of the invention, generally stated, is the provision of improved composite closure caps of the foregoing construction and character which provide excellent tamper-proof, sanitary, infestation resistant, shock absorbing, and re-closure properties, and which are economincally produced and assembled, conveniently applied in high speed capping machines, and which do not interfere with use of electro-magnetic package handling equipment.
Certain additional and more specific objects of the invention will be apparent from the following detailed description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of the upper portion of a container vacuum sealed with a composite closure cap forming a preferred embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 shows the composite closure in the process of being manually removed from the package shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view on enlarged scale of the composite closure cap shown in .FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view on line 4-4 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary detail view of the right hand portion of FIG. 4 on enlarged scale with a portion of the container mouth and finish included showing the cap in sealed relationship on the container finish; and
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary detail elevation on line 6-6 of FIG. 3.
In FIGS. 1 and 2 a container 5 is shown having a wide mouth at the top with a circumferential head 6 and a top seal. finish 7 (FIG. 5). The container 5 is shown closed in FIG. 1 with a composite closure forming a preferred embodiment of the invention being indicated generally at 8. In FIG. 2 the composite closure 8 is shown being removed from the container 5.
Referring to FIGS. 3 and 4, the composite closure cap 8 has two parts, a closure lid 10 and a plastic retainer or fitment 11. The closure lid 10 comprises a shell which includes a top panel portion 12 and a de pending skirt portion 13 which terminates in a circumferential inturned curl or bead 14. At the margin of the top panel 12 a gasket-receiving channel formation 15 is provided in which is located an annular gasket 16 of known type.
The closure lid 10 may be manufactured in accordance with known procedures, from known materials, using known manufacturing equipment and techniques. For example, the shell of the closure lid may be formed from tin plate that has been suitably coated in known manner on the interior and exterior surfaces. If desired, the top panel portion 12 may be provided at the center with a deflector button portion which serves to indicate when there is vacuum on the interior of a package closed with the cap 8 and conversely to indicate when a seal has been brokenand vacuum no longer exists within the package. The manner in which such a central button may be formed and functions are described in detail in U.S. Pat. No. 3,160,302 dated Dec. 8, 1964.
The gasket 16 may be a flowed-in plastisol gasket as taught for example in U.S. Pat. No. 2,841,304 dated July 1, 1958 although other forms and types of gaskets may be used that will provide a hermetic seal with the top finish 7 on the container 5.
The retainer or fitment 11 is integrally formed in two parts. Preferably, the retainer is injection molded from a suitable plastic such as polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, etc. in an inner ring or band-like body portion 17 which is surrounded in spaced relation by a lift ring 18. The band or ring body 17 is provided on the interior and upper portion with a circumferential groove 20 for receiving the bead or curl 14 in snap-fit relationship. The shape and dimensions of the groove 20 are such in relationship to those of the bead 14 that the groove embraces the bead or curl 14 with the upper lip 19 of the groove having an inner diameter which is somewhat less than the maximum outside diameter of the bead or curl 14. Accordingly, the bead or curl 14 will have a snap-in fit with respect to the groove 20 so that once a closure lid is assembled into its retainer or fitment 11 with the bead 14 sealed in the groove 20, these two parts will not readily become separated.
A tapered portion 21 of the ring or band body 17 extends above the groove 20 but it terminates at a level which is below the level of the top panel portion 12 of the closure lid 10. By virtue of this relationship the top panel portion 12 of the closure lid will be fully exposed and available for engagement by conventional electro-magnetic equipment used in transferring packages and containers. It will be noted that the outer side surface of the main ring or band body 17 is substantially cylindrical and that the inner surface thereof above the groove lip 19 tapers upwardly and outwardly in the portion 21. The inverted frustoconical surface provided by the taper portion 21 acts to guide the beads or curls 14 into place under the lips 19 thereby facilitating the assembly of the composite closure caps 8.
By having the bead 14 formed with an intumed curl and having the circumferential upper edge of the groove engage the skirt 13 there is no open space for liquid or foreign objects to collect, thereby enhancing the sanitary properties of the cap 8. Furthermore, there is less likelihood of fractures developing in the inner coatings.
Adjacent to its bottom edge orsurface, the ring or band body 17 has four inwardly projecting lugs 22-22 which are circumferentially spaced 90 from each other. There can be fewer or more lugs 22 and a continuous inner flange may be used if desired. These lugs 22 are designed to cooperate with the downwardly facing annular shoulder surface 23 (FIG. 5) provided on the bottom surface of the bead 6 integrally formed on the mouth of the container 5. When the composite cap 8 is used with packages having vacuums in the head spaces sufficient to retain the caps in hermetically sealed relationship on the container finishes, the pertinent relative dimensions are such that the lugs 22 do not engage the shoulder surface 23 when a closure cap 8 is held in its most downward position on the mouth of the container 5 by vacuum maintained within the container or package. However, the lugs 22 will prevent the composite closure lid 8 from being accidentally dislodged from its place or seated position on the mouth of a container either before a vaccum seal has been formed or after the seal has been broken. When the inwardly projecting lugs 22 are replaced with a continuous flange, the bead 6 may be discontinous, i.e., in
such that the lugs 22 cooperate with the shoulder surface 23. The lift ring 18 is generally rectangular in vertical cross-section and may be lighter or smaller than the ring or band body 17. The lift ring 18 is integrally hinged to the outside of the ring or band body 17 at the integral connection 24 which desirably has an angular width in the order of approximately 20 and a vertical height somewhat less than that of the lift ring 18.
In addition to the hinge connection 24 the lift ring 18 is also lightly interconnected to the ring or band body 17 at two or more circumferentially spaced frangible connections 25-25. Since the flexible lift ring 18 is separated from the ring or band body 17 except at the hinge 24 and the frangible connections 2525, it provides a cushion action capable of absorbing side blows against the closure caps 8.
To facilitate the manipulation of the lift ring 18 it is provided with a thumbnail recess 26 (FIG. 6) in its bottom edge directly opposite the hinge 24.
In use, the cap manufacturer will normally assemble the closure lids 10 and their respective retainers or fitments 11. The food packer or processor will apply the composite closure lids using known high speed capping machines wherein the individual composite closure caps 8 are pressed down onto the mouths of the filled containers after which the steam which has been introduced into' the head spaces condenses and perfects the vacuum and hermetic seals, thereby drawing the closure lids 10 firmly down on the mouths of the containers.
When a user or consumer wishes to have access to the contents of a package or container 5, he or she will engage the lift ring 18 underneath the thumbnail catch 26 and lift upwardly so as to break the frangible connections 2525. This frees the lift ring 18 so that it can be swung upwardly on the hinge connection 24 to the relative position shown in FIG. 2. By pulling upwardly on the freed lift ring 18 while holding down on the composite closure cap at a position directly opposite the hinge, it is readily possible to first break the vacuum seal at the hinge and then to completely remove the composite closure cap 8.
The closure cap 8 can be replaced onto a partially emptied container so as to serve as a re-closure by simply pressing down so that the lugs 22 engage under the bead 6 on the mouth container 5. The lift ring 18 can be again used in removing the closure cap 8 as many times as desired.
Preferably, the container 5 is provided with an annular upwardly facing shoulder 27 which is so positioned that when the composite closure cap 18 is applied to the container and maintained under a vacuum seal condition in its fully seated and down-most position, there will be only slight clearance between the bottom surface of the ring or band body 22 and the surface 27, thereby preventing entrance of foreign objects or material.
1. A composite closure cap for presson application onto and pull-off removal from a vacuum and/or hermetically sealed container comprising a gasketed lid and a plastic retainer, said gasketed lid comprising a shell having a top panel portion and a depending skirt portion terminating in a circumferential bead or curl,
and an annular gasket within said shell at the margin thereof, said plastic retainer comprising an inner ring body and an outer lift ring, said inner ring having an inner circumferential retention means for mating engagement with said circumferential bead or curl and said outer lift ring being integrally hinged to said inner ring body and being secured to said inner ring body by frangible connections circumferentially spaced from said hinge whereby on breaking said integral connections said outer lift ring may be used to break the seal and then pull off said lid from a container.
2. A composite closure cap for'press-on application on and pull-off removal from a vacuum and/or hermetically sealed container having an annular top seal finish and exterior circumferential undercut shoulder means below said top seal finish, said closure cap comprising a gasketed lid adapted for sealingengagement on said annular top seal finish and a plastic retainer for said lid, said gasketed lid comprising a metal shell having a top panel and a depending skirt terminating in an inturned bead or curl and an annular top seal gasket on the interior of said shell at the margin of said panel, said plastic retainer comprising an ring or band body surrounded in spaced relationship by an outer lift ring or band, said inner ring or band body having an inner circumferential retention groove for receiving and retaining said circumferential bead or curl with a snap fit under the upper lip of said groove and below said bead retention groove a plurality of circumferentially spaced inturned lugs or circumferential inner flange for retaining engagement with said undercut shoulder means, and said outer lift ring or band being integrally hinged to said inner ring or band body at one location and being secured thereto by readily frangible integral connections circumferentially spaced from said hinge whereby on breaking said integral connections said outer lift ring or band may be used to break said seal and then pull-off said lid from said top seal finish.
3. The composite closure cap of claim 2 wherein said annular top seal is located in a channel formed in said lid shell with said skirt providing the outer sidewall of said channel.
4. The composite closure cap of claim 2 wherein a portion of said inner ring or band body extends above said retention groove and the inner surface of said upwardly extending portion slants outwardly from the top of said retention groove entrance.
5. The composite closure cap of claim 2 wherein the top of said plastic retainer is appreciably below said lid panel.