US 3853221 A
A pad formed of resilient compressible material is provided for use in cushion packing a plurality of fragile articles disposed in laterally spaced relation within a container. The pad, which may be used either above or beneath the articles disposed in the container, is provided with a plurality of compressible hollow projections. Where the pad overlies the articles, the hollow projections thereof extend downwardly from a predetermined plane of the pad and are adapted to resiliently engage the articles disposed therebeneath when the container, in which the articles and pad are placed, is closed. The resilient contact between the pad projections and the articles prevents relative movement of the articles within the closed container during normal handling of the latter. When there is resilient contact between a projection and an article disposed therebeneath, the projection will be distorted or compressed in a controlled manner along one or more lines of flexure.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
[ Dec. 10, 1974 v 1 PAD FOR CUSHION PACKING FRAGILE ARTILCES  Inventor: James W. Boyd, Crown Point, Ind.
 Assignee: Packaging Corporation of America,
 Filed: Apr. 12, 1973  Appl. No.: 350,649
Related U.S. Application Data  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 125,186, March 17,
 U.S. Cl 206/521, 206/526, 217/26.5, 217/35, 229/14 C, 206/523  Int. Cl... B65d 25/12, B65d 81/16, B65d 85/34  Field of Search 206/521, 523, 526; 229/14 C; 217/26, 26.5, 35; 267/145, 153
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,032,373 3/1936 Mellars et a1. 217/35 2,175,559 10/1939 Dreux 217/35 2,371,271 3/1945 Smith 229/14 C 2,652,696v 9/1953 McCann et al. 217/26 3,018,015 1/1962 Agriss et a1 206/521 3,052,347 9/1962 Whiteford 217/35 3,171,691 3/1965 Bwehrig 267/145 3,176,899 4/1965 McMahon 2l7/26.5 3,305,227 2/1967 Henley 267/153 3,368,806 2/1968 Szonn 267/153 3,516,596 6/1970 Madden et a1, 229/14 C Primary Examiner william T. Dixson, Jr.
[ 5 7] ABSTRACT A pad formed of resilient compressible material is provided for use in cushion packing a plurality of fragile articles disposed in laterally spaced relation within a container. The pad, which may be used either above or beneath the articles disposed in the container, is provided with a plurality of compressible hollow projections. Where the pad overlies the articles, the hollow projections thereof extend downwardly from a predetermined plane of the pad and are adapted to resiliently engage the articles disposed therebeneath when the container, in which the articles and pad are placed, is closed. The resilient contact between the pad projections and the articles prevents relative movement of the articles within the closed container during normal handling of the latter, When there is re silient contact between a projection and an article disposed therebeneath, the projection will be distorted or compressed in a controlled manner along one or more lines of flexure.
11 Claims, 19 Drawing Figures PAIENIEBBKEIOW v SHEET 10F 6 PAIENTEBBEEIOIQH 21853221 SHEET 20F 6 r FIG.5
SHEET 3 OF 6 PATENTEL BEE I 0 I974 PAD FOR CUSHION PACKING FRAGILE ARTILCES The instant application is a continuation-in-pa rt of copending application Ser. No. 125,186 filed by the same applicant on Mar. 17, 1971, now abandoned.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In the bulk packaging of fragile articles, such as fruit, it is customary for the fruit to be disposed in layers within a shipping container. The layers of fruit, in turn, are separated from one another by cushion trays. Each tray is provided with a plurality of laterally spaced fruitaccommodating pockets. After the last or top layer of fruit has been disposed within the container, a pad is normally placed in overlying relation with the top layer of fruit prior to the container being closed. The pad is intended to take up any clearance which might exist between the top layer of fruit and the closed cover of the container and thus, assure snug packing of the layers of fruit within the container. Because of the differential in size and shape of the fruit forming the top layer, it has heretofore been difficult for the pad to engage each piece thereof unless an excessive amount of compressive force was applied when the cover was moved to its closed position. Such excessive force obviously was undesirable because it caused an inordinate amount of bruising of the fruit. On the other hand, when the pad did not engage each piece of fruit forming the top layer, the piece not in contact with the pad would bounce and roll within the tray pocket, thereby causing the piece to become highly susceptible to bruising when the package was subjected to normal handling.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Thus, it is an object of this invention to provide a cushion pad which will readily compensate for variations in the size and'shape of the accommodated articles, and thus, effectively retain the articles in fixed positions within the container without the application of an excessive amount of compressive force being applied. i
It is a further object of this inventionto provide a cushion pad formed of resilient compressible material and having formed therein a plurality of compressible depending projections which are adapted to resiliently engage fragile articles disposed therebeneath or there above, depending upon whether the pad overlies or subtends the articles, and be distorted thereby in a controlled manner along one or more lines of flexure formed in the walls of the projections.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a cushion pad which is adapted to exert a variable spring like force on articles disposed therebeneath notwithstanding that the size and shape of the articles may vary over a wide range.
It is a further object of this invention to provide a cushion pad which may be formed of lightweight, inexpensive material such as foam plastic or the like.
Further and additional objects will-appear from the description, accompanying drawings and appended claims.
In accordance with one embodimentof this invention, a cushion pad of resilient compressible material is provided for use in cushion packing a plurality of laterally spaced fragile articles within a closed container. The pad has formed therein-a plurality of compressible,
hollow projections which depend from a predetermined plane of the pad. Each projection has a downwardly tapered wall having inner and outer lines of flexure formed therein which enable each projectionto be distorted independently of the other projections by an article disposed therebeneath and in resilient contact therewith. The distortion occurs in a controlled manner along the lines of flexure. The size and shape of the engaged article will determine the extent to which the contacting projection will be distorted.
DESCRIPTION For a more complete understanding of the invention, reference should be made to the drawings wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective top view of one form of the improved cushion pad.
FIG. 2 is an enlarged, fragmentary, top plan view of the cushion pad of FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged, fragmentary, bottom plan view of the cushion pad of FIG. 1.
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary side elevational view of the cushion pad of FIG. 1.
FIGS. 5 and 6 are sectional views taken along lines 5-5 and 66, respectively, of FIG. 2.
FIG. 6a is an enlarged, fragmentary, sectional view of a wall in an uncompressed state forming one of the projections embodied in the pad of FIG. 1.
FIG. 6b is similar to FIG. 6a but showing the projection in a compressed or distorted condition.
FIG. 7 is a fragmentary, vertical sectional view of a bulk package showing the improved cushion pad of FIG. 1 in assembled relation with the top layer of articles accommodated within a container.
FIG. Sis similar to FIG. 1, but showing a second form of the improved cushion pad.
FIGS. 9 and 10 are enlarged fragmentary sectional views taken along lines 9-9 and 10-10, respectively, of FIG. 8.
FIG. 11 is a fragmentary top plan view of a third form of the improved cushion pad.
FIG. 12 is an enlarged, fragmentary sectional view taken along line'l2-12 ofFIG. 11.
FIG. 13 is an enlarged fragmentary top view of a fourth form of the improved cushion pad.
FIGS. 14 and 15 are sectional views taken along lines 14-14 and l5-l5, respectively, of FIG. 13.
FIGS. 16 and 17 are fragmentary sectional views similar to FIG. 14 and showing a depending projection in two stages of resilient engagement with an article disposed therebeneath.
Referring now to the drawings and more particularly to FIG. 1, one form of the improved cushion pad 10 is shown which is adapted to be used in the bulk packaging 11 of fragile articles, such as fruit F. The package 11, as shown in FIG. 7, includes a plurality of rectangularly shaped fruit trays l2 normally of molded pulp material, foam plastic, or the like, which are provided with a plurality of laterally spaced, fruit-accommodating pockets 13. Each pocket is shaped so as to readily accommodate the fruit being packaged. The fruit F, shown in FIG. 7, would normally be apples, peaches, pears, or the like which have a tendency to bruise easily. The loaded trays are arranged in stacked relation within a suitable container 14 formed of corrugated board, wood, or the like. The peripheral shape of the trays l2 closely resembles the area defined by the side walls of the container and the corresponding pockets 3 13 of adjacent loaded trays of the stack are horizontally offset thereby permitting more compact packing of the loaded trays. I
Once the top tray of the stack has been loaded with fruit, the'cushion pad is placed in overlying relation therewith followed by a cover-15 being moved into a telescoping closing relation with respect to the open top of the container delimited by the side walls thereof. In lieu of the cover 15, the upper edges of the container side walls may be provided with foldable closure flaps,
' not shown, which may be folded into overlapping relation. The height of the stack of loaded trays relative to the height of the container side walls is such that when the cover 15 is in its closed position, a compressive force is exerted on the stack, including the cushion pad 10, thereby causing the fruit to be snugly accommodated within the tray pockets. The pad 10, during such cover closing, will be distorted or compressed by the top layer of fruit in a manner to be hereinafter described. lt is important in order to minimize bruising of the fruit, that each piece of fruit be resiliently engaged by some portion of the cushion pad 10.
The pad 10 and the other forms of pads 110, 210, and 310 to be hereinafter described are preferably formed of a lightweight, resilient compressible material, such as expanded polystyrene or other suitable foam plastic. Pad 10 is provided with a plurality of laterally spaced, depending, hollow projections 16 which are of like configurations and arranged independently of one another. In pad 10, the projections 16 are arranged in a plurality of parallel rows with the projections in adjacent rows being in staggered relation similar to the pocket arrangement in the trays 12 which accommodate the packaged fruit.
Each projection 16 depends a like amount from a predetermined plane X of the pad. As noted in FIG. 1,
plane X is substantially delimited by an upstanding peripheral shoulder 17. The number of projections included in pad 10 will depend upon the load density of the bulk package and the type of fruit or article being packaged. I
Each projection 16, in the illustrated embodiment, is provided with anannularly shaped flat base portion 16a which is normally disposed in a plane substantially par allel to plane X. The base portion 16a is delimited by an annular inwardly tapered wall 16b which interconnects the base portion with the plane X. Portions of the walls 16b of the projections in adjacent rows intersect one another beneath plane X and thus, form saddlelike sections 18. As seen in FIG. 6a, the wall 16b of each projection 16 is provided with inner and outer lines of flexure 20a and 21a, and 20b and 21b, respectively. It will be noted that the inner lines of flexure are in staggered relation with respect to the outer lines of flexure. The number of flexure lines may vary from that shown and will depend upon the depth of the projection and the amount of controlled distortion of the projection desired, when the base portion 160 is in resilient engagement with an accommodated fruit disposed therebeneath.
As noted in FIG. 7, the shape, size, and relative position of the fruit F within the pockets formed in the uppermost cushion tray 12 vary to a considerable extent and, therefore, the degree to which each projection 16 will be in resilient engagement with the fruit accommodated in the top layer will not be uniform. The lines of flexure 20a and b and 21a and b are preferably disposed distortion of the projection and thereby prevent an ex duced by compression with the result that the inherent fight-back of the material in these areas produces a resilient contact with-the fruit and thus, retains the latter in a substantially immovable state during normal handling of the bulk package.
FIGS. 8-10 show a second form of the improved cushion pad which is similar to pad 10 but the base portion 116a of each depending projection 116 is provided with an inverted upwardly extending hollow protuberance 116a. As in the case of the depending wall 16b of each projection 16 of pad 10 being provided with concentric lines of flexure-20a and b and 21a and b, the wall 116b of each projection 1 16 is also provided with similar lines of flexure l20aand b and 121a and b. The inverted protuberance 1160 in each instance may also be provided with one or more lines of flexure. By reason of protuberance 1160, the upper exposed end 123 thereof maybe resiliently engaged by the interior surface of the cover 15 when the latter is in a closed positionwith respect to the container 14 and the projection is distorted by the fruit. Thus, with pad 110, the bottom surface 116a of each depending projection 116 will resiliently contact a piece of fruit forming the top layer of fruit, which, in turn, will cause the inverted protuberance 116C to be offset upwardly whereby the upper end 123 of the latter may in certain instances resiliently contact the cover interior surface. The lines of flexure l20a-b and l22a-b will provide means of controlling distortion of the projections and protuberances formed in pad 110 in'the same manner as previously described without damaging the fruit, or other articles, accommodated by the upper tray.
FIGS. 11 and 12 disclose a thirdform of the improved cushion pad'2l0 which is adapted to provide cushioning for the top layer of fragile articles whether they be fruit or the like and regardless of the relative disposition of such articles forming the top layer. Pad 210 has a rectangular peripheral shape, as in the case of pads 10 and 110 which conforms to the interior configuration of the container 14. The periphery of pad 210 is defined by a raised rim 211 which extends upwardly from a mid-plane Y of the pad, see HO. 1 l. The portion of the pad delimited by the rim 211 is provided with a plurality of substantially parallel, diagonally extending, elongated projections 212a and 2l2b. Alternate projections 212a extend upwardly from plane Y and alternate projections 212b extend downwardly therefrom. Each projection 212a or 212b has converging walls and each wall, in turn, is provided with inner and outer lines of flexure 213 as previously described with respect to projections 16 of pad 10. The lines of flexure permit controlled distortion of the projection, as the latter is in resilient engagement with one or more accommodated articles.
By reason of the diagonal disposition of the projections, each projection 21212 may engage one or more articles comprising the top layer regardless of the relative disposition of said articles in said layer. Furthermore, the projections 212a and 2l2b extend substantially the same amount from plane Y; thus, it is not important which projections extend downwardly when the pad 210 overlies the top layer of fragile articles.
The number of projections 212a and 212b, the relative proximity of the projections, and the shape of the projections and lines of flexure therefor may vary from that shown without departing from the scope of the invention.
A further embodiment of the improved pad 310 is shown in FIGS. 13-17. Pad 310 is similar to pad 110; however, the projections 316 of pad 310 are smaller in diameter than projections 116 and thus, there are a greater number of projections. In view of this fact, each article accommodated in the upper tray may or may not be directly aligned beneath a given projection and one article in most instances will simultaneously resiliently engage more than one projection. Each projection 316 has the inwardly tapered wall 316b thereof provided with concentrically disposed lines of flexure 320a and 321a formed on the interior surface thereof and concentrically disposed lines of flexure 3201) and 321b formed on the exterior surface thereof, see PK]. 14. Flexure lines 320a and 321a are in staggered relation with respect to lines 32% and 32lb. The bottom surface 316a of each projection 316, in the illustrated embodiment is provided with an upwardly projecting protuberance 316a. By reason of the arrangement of the lines of flexure, the wall of the projection will resiliently collapse or be distorted upon the article being resiliently engaged by a projection. Because of the inherent fight-back or resistance of the pad material to folding about the lines of flexure, there will always be a force exerted on the article by a distorted or collapsed projection seeking toreturn to its normal non-distorted condition.
In order to add stiffness to the pad 3R0 in the areas 330 between projections 316, an embossment 331 may be formed. If desired, however, the embossments 331 may be omitted.
As aforenoted, any embodiment of the illustrated pads may be formed ofa foam plastic material (e.g. ex-
panded polystyrene) which. will be chemically inert with respect to the articles contacted thereby. Furthermore. the pad material must be light weight, inexpensive and not be adversely affected by wide variations in temperature and humidity. While the inner and outer lines of flexure in pads 10, 110 and 310 are shown and described as each having a continuous annular configuration, the invention is not limited thereto, and if desired, the inner and outer lines of flexure may be spiral shape or each line may be interrupted rather than continuous.
Furthermore, the various forms of the improved pad have heretofore been described as being disposed in overlying relation with respect to the top layer of fruit or other fragile articles packed within a container. While generally the improved pad would be so positioned relative to the contents of the container; nevertheless, in certain instances the improved pad might initially be placed in the container so as to rest upon the bottom thereof and then the contents placed thereupon. lf the contents are disposed within cushion trays, such as shown in FIG. 7, the bottom tray will rest upon the pad. Once the top layer of the contents has been formed, a second improved pad is placed in overlying position prior to the container being closed. When two of the improved pads are used in the manner as described, the contents of the container will be resiliently suspended between the top (cover) and bottom of the v closed container.
As aforementioned, the resiliency or susceptibility of the hollow projections of the improved pad will be determined by the number, shape and relative location of the inner and outer lines of flexure, and the extent to which the projections extend from a given plane of the pad.
In all instances the lines of flexure produce variable spring like force on the article in contact therewith. Because the length or circumference of the lines of flexure vary in each projection, the line of flexure which has the shortest length (e.g., the one closest to the base portion of the projection) will serve as the first fulcrum about which the projection will be distorted. After the projection has initially been distorted about said line of flexure, further distortion will progressively occur at the next longer line of flexure, which is located on the opposite side of the formation or structure. Thus, as each successive line of flexure serves as a fulcrum, the resistance to distortion will be progressively increased.
Thus, it will be seen that an effective, yet inexpensive cushion pad has been provided which significantly reduces the incidents of bruising or damage which normally occur in the bulk packaging of articles such as fruit or the like. Furthermore, the improved pad is adapted to be readily used with articles which are nonuniform in size and shape and yet is capable of resiliently contacting each of the articles and prevent relative movement thereof during normal handling of the bulk package utilizing said pad. The improved pad may be utilized, if desired, at both the top and bottom of the contents of a container and, thus, effect resilient suspension of the contents within the container.
I. A pad of soft, resiliently compressible material for use in cushion packing fragile articles disposed within a container wherein the articles form a top layer within the container and are arranged in laterally spaced relation; said pad being positionable within the container and interposed the top layer of articles and a closure for the container, the peripheral shape of said pad approximating the area delimited by the container side walls, said pad comprising a plurality of laterally spaced, hollow projections depending a like amount from a predetermined plane of the pad and resiliently engaging each of the articles forming the top layer, each projection including a base portion having the undersurface thereof adapted to engage an article disposed therebeneath and forming the top layer, and an inwardly tapered wall interconnecting the periphery of the base portion with the predetermined plane of the pad, said wall having an exterior surface provided with a first line of flexure arranged in substantially encompassing relation with respect to said base portion and spaced therefrom, and an interior surface provided with a second line of flexure arranged in substantially encompassing relation with respect to said base portion and spaced a different amount therefrom than said first line of flexure whereby controlled flexure of said wall occurs about said lines of flexure upon said base portion being distorted by an article engaging said base portion; the portions of said projection wall ajacent said lines of flexure being resiliently compressed when controlled flexure of the projection wall occurs.
2. The pad of claim 1 wherein the resiliently compressible material of said pad comprises a foam plastic.
3. The pad of claim 1 wherein each of predetermined lines of flexure has a continuous substantially ring-like configuration. i
4. The pad of claim 1 wherein the exterior surface of each projection wall is provided with a plurality of spaced concentrically arranged first lines of flexure, and the interior surface of each projection wall is provided with a plurality of spaced, concentrically arranged second lines of flexure; corresponding first and second lines of flexure being arranged in staggered relation.
5. The pad of claim 1 wherein the base portion of each projection is provided with an upwardly extending hollow protuberance; the extent to which each protuberance extends upwardly being less than the amount each projection depends from the predetermined plane of said pad.
6. The pad of claim 1 wherein each of predetermined lines of flexure has a helical configuration.
7. The pad of claim 1 wherein each of predetermined lines of flexure has a noncontinuous substantially ringlike configuration.
8. The pad of claim 1 wherein the plurality of projections are arranged in a plurality of substantially parallel rows and the projections in adjacent rows being arranged in staggered relation.
9. The pad of claim 1 wherein a plurality of first hollow projections depend from said predetermined plane and a plurality of second hollow projections extend upwardly from said predetermined plane, said first and second projections being arranged in alternate relation; each projection being provided with an inwardly ta pered wall delimiting a base portion, said wall having an exterior surface provided with a first line of flexure arranged in substantially encompassing relation with respect to the delimited base portion, and an interior surface provided with a second line of flexure arranged in substantially encompassing relation with respect .to said delimited base portion, one of said lines of flexure being closer to said delimited base portion than the other.
10. The pad of claim 9 wherein the base portion of each projection has an elongated configuration and the longitudinal axes of said base portions are in substan-