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Publication numberUS3885728 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 27, 1975
Filing dateJun 25, 1973
Priority dateJun 25, 1973
Also published asCA1009991A1, DE2428960A1, DE2428960C2
Publication numberUS 3885728 A, US 3885728A, US-A-3885728, US3885728 A, US3885728A
InventorsGilley James E
Original AssigneeKeyes Fibre Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Packaging tray with upper and lower viewing windows
US 3885728 A
Abstract
A molded, open top tray for packaging products such as moist pieces of meat, fish or poultry in conjunction with a transparent wrapping which encloses both the tray and the product packaged thereon. The bottom of the tray includes a plurality of hollow posts tapering upwardly from a base portion, with openings through the base portion between the posts defining lower viewing windows. The hollow posts are truncated to define upper viewing windows and to provide product support rims whereby portions of the packaged product located over a post are visible through the upper viewing windows and portions of the product not located over a post are visible through the lower viewing windows.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

[4 1 May 27, 1975 United States Patent [191 Gilley 3,764,057 10/1973 Reifers et al........ 229/2.5

[ 1 PACKAGING TRAY WITH UPPER AND LOWER VIEWING WINDOWS Primary Examiner-Leonard D. Christian [75] Inventor 122:32 Glney South Chma Attorney, Agent, or FirmC0nnolly and Hutz ABSTRACT [73] Assignee: Keyes Fibre Company, Waterville,

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support rims whereby portions of the packaged product located over a post are visible through the upper viewing windows and portions of the product not 10- [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS cated over a post are visible through the lower viewing PACKAGING TRAY WITH UPPER AND LOWER VIEWING WINDOWS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The claimed invention relates to open bottom food containers, and more particularly to food containers for packaging products such as moist pieces of meat, fish or poultry in conjuction with a transparent wrapping enclosing both the tray and the product packaged thereon.

Molded wood and/or paper pulp food trays have served the food packaging industry well for many years for the packaging of meat, fish, poultry and other such products. Such trays have the advantages, besides low price and low cost to the consumer, of being clean, sturdy and safe, of being biodegradable so as to minimize the solids pollution problem, and of being capable of accepting and absorbing the moisture and juices which exude from meat, fish and poultry. A prior design of a tray having the foregoing advantages is disclosed in Bixler US. Pat. No. 3,698,623 (October 1972), wherein the bottom of the tray is formed by a plurality of practically solid, narrow ribs of inverted V- shaped cross section spaced from each other to provide a plurality of relatively large open viewing windows. Prepackaging trays utilizing outwardly and inwardly bulged portions to strengthen the sidewalls against the compressive forces of the transparent wrappings are illustrated in Reny US. Pat. No. 3,221,971 (December 1965) and Reifers U.S. Pat. No. 3,700,096 (October 1972 respectively. A combination of such bulged portions with downwardly opening channel shaped ribs spaced from each other to provide a plurality of somewhat smaller viewing windows is disclosed in Reifers et al US. Pat. No. 3,682,365 (August 1972).

None of the tray designs of the aforesaid patents, however, solve the problem of providing optimum visibility of the bottom of the product packaged on the tray while at the same time maintaining the strength required for such trays. The narrow product support ribs of inverted V-shaped cross-section providing open viewing windows, as in Bixler US. Pat. No. 3,698,623, for instance, provide fairly good visibility of the bottom of the product supported on the ribs, but the visibility is less than optimum and the narrower the ribs for better viewing the weaker the rib structure. The downwardly opening channel shaped product support ribs providing smaller open viewing windows, as in Reifers US. Pat. No. 3,682,365, for instance, are of the type which has long been recognized as providing good strength, but the inherent width of such ribs seriously limits the visibility of the bottom of the product supported on the ribs to the point where 70 percent visibility of the bottom of the product wouldbe difficult to obtain.

Thus, the problem unsolved by the prior art is the provision of a molded packaging tray which has the heretofore irreconcilable combination of a visibility factor at least equal to and preferably greater than that provided by the tray of Bixler U.S. Pat. -No. 3,698,623 plus a strength factor at least equal to and preferably greater than that provided by the tray of Reifers US. Pat. No. 3,682,365.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention solves the foregoing problems and provides a tray for packaging products such as moist pieces of meat, fish and poultry in conjunction with a transparent wrapping enclosing both the tray and the product packaged thereon, the bottom of the tray including hollow posts tapering upwardly from a base portion, openings through the base portion between the posts defining lower viewing windows, and the hollow posts being truncated to define upper viewing windows and provide product support rims whereby portions of the packaged product located over a post are visible through the upper viewing windows and portions of the product not located over a post are visible through the lower viewing windows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Numerous advantages of the present invention will become apparent to one skilled in the art from a reading of the detailed description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein similar reference characters refer to similar parts, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the molded tray of this invention with a product such as a moist piece of meat, fish or poultry packaged thereon and with a transparent wrapping enclosing both the tray and the product;

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the molded tray of this invention, without any product thereon and without the transparent wrapping;

FIG. 3 is a partial sectional elevational view on line 33 of FIG. 2, with the product added and with the transparent wrapping illustrated on the left-hand portion thereof; and,

FIG. 4 is a greatly enlarged fragmentary sectional elevational view on line 44 of FIG. 2 showing details of the upper and lower viewing windows of the molded tray of this invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring in more particularity to the drawings, the molded open top tray 10 of this invention is useful for a wide variety of purposes, but it is particularly well suited for packaging consumer products 12 such as moist pieces of meat, fish, poultry and other bulky, slab-type produce. Such products are customarily packaged with a transparent wrapping l4 enclosing both the tray 10 and the product 12 packaged thereon, leaving all of the top of the product and most if not all of the sides of the product clearly visible for inspection by the purchaser. An example of such transparent wrapping is either non-elastic cellophane or thermoplastic which may be applied and sealed in accordance with any well-known technique including gluing or heat sealing and, if desired, heat shrinking to provide an attractive, compact and sanitary package.

The tray 10 is molded after the conventional fashion on open face suction dies to final shape from generally opaque, fibrous, biodegradable wood and/or paper pulp. A recognized advantage of such molding techniques is the provision of trays which, in the empty condition, are capable of being nestably stacked with other like trays for economical shipment and convenient storage.

The tray 10 comprises a base portion 16 defining the bottom of the tray. While the tray may be of any convenient shape, the embodiment illustrated in the drawings is one wherein the overall shape of the base portion 16 is generally rectangular, and the tray includes upwardly and outwardly flaring sidewalls l8 integrally joined to all four sides of the base portion 16. The sidewalls are joined together at rounded corners of the tray to provide a continuous sidewall around the tray. The upper extremities of the sidewalls 18 are characterized by a down-turned peripheral lip 22 surrounding the generally rectangular tray, which provides an attractive upper margin and strengthens the sidewalls 18 against the compressive forces of the transparent wrapping 14 secured thereabout. In the preferred embodiment, all four sidewalls 18 are bowed outwardly at their midportions, which provides additional strength against the compressive forces of the transparent wrapping 14, which bow-out may be taken up to some extent when the transparent wrapping is tightly applied, such as may occur with heat shrunk films.

The base portion 16, which defines the bottom of the tray, includes a plurality of hollow posts 24 tapering upwardly from the base portion, and a plurality of openings 26 through the base portion between the posts. The openings 26 through the base portion 16 define lower viewing windows. The hollow posts 24 are truncated defining upper viewing windows 28 and at the same time providing product support rims 30. The product support rims 30 support the packaged product in a manner such that portions of the product located over a post 24 are visible through the upper viewing windows 28, and portions of the product not located over a post are visible through the lower viewing windows 26.

The size of the upper viewing windows 28, as defined by the product support rims 30, and the spacing of the upper viewing windows 28 with respect to each other precludes substantial contact between the packaged product 12 and the base portion 16 of the tray. In the preferred embodiment illustrated in the drawings, the product support rims 30 are circular, which is believed to be the shape most conducive to economical molding of attractive viewing windows characterized by a minimum of stray pulp fibers or flashing which detracts from the appearance of the packaging tray. The horizontal dimension of the upper viewing windows 28 is substantially greater than the vertical distance between the level of the upper viewing windows 28 and the level of the lower viewing windows 26., the latter being in the plane of the base portion 16. In the preferred embodiment, the upper viewing windows 28 are arranged in parallel rows, which alternate with parallel rows of lower viewing windows 26.

To increase the strength of the tray, the preferred embodiment illustrated in the drawings further includes downwardly opening channel shaped ribs 32 formed in the base portion between the posts, the height of the ribs 32 above the base portion 16 being approximately the same as the height as the product support rims 30 above the base portion. In the preferred embodiment, the ribs 32 run lengthwise of the rectangular shaped tray, between the rows of posts, and are interrupted by the lower viewing windows 26, although other rib arrangements are contemplated within the scope of the present invention. The channel shaped ribs further include laterally extending solid narrow lugs 34 joined to the base portion which connect the side walls of the channel shaped ribs 32 with the side walls of the upwardly tapering posts 24. The height of the lugs 34 above the base portion 16 is less than the height of the ribs 32 and the rims 30 above the base portion.

Additional downwardly opening channel shaped ribs 36 connect the sidewalls 18 to the posts which are adjacent to the sidewalls. The height of the ribs 36 above the base portion 16 is approximately the same as the height of the ribs 32 and the rims 30 above the base portion. In the preferred embodiment, each of the channel shaped ribs 36 further includes solid narrow lugs 38 joined between the upper surface of the ribs 36 and the adjacent sidewall 18. The lugs 38 serve a combined purpose of strengthening the sidewall against laterally directed forces and establishing a stacking interval when the empty trays are nestably stacked with other like trays for shipment and storage to facilitate ready denesting of the trays one-by-one from the stack without jamming.

While the above described embodiment constitutes the presently preferred mode of practicing the invention, other embodiments or equivalents are within the scope of the actual invention.

What is claimed is:

1. A molded, open top tray for packaging products, such as moist pieces of meat, fish or poultry in conjunction with a transparent wrapping enclosing both the tray and the product packaged thereon, comprising a base portion defining the bottom of the tray, a plurality of truncated hollow posts tapering upwardly from the base portion, the upper ends of said posts having openings which define viewing windows, the periphery of said windows providing product support rims, openings through the base portion between the posts to define lower viewing windows whereby portions of the packaged product located over a post are visible through the upper viewing windows and portions of the product not located over a post are visible through the lower viewing windows, the size of the upper viewing windows as defined by the product support rims and the spacing of the upper viewing windows with respect to each other precluding substantial contact between the packaged product and the base portion of the tray, and the horizontal dimensions of the upper viewing windows being greater than the vertical distance between the level of the upper viewing windows and the level of the lower viewing windows.

2. A molded tray as in claim 1 wherein the product support rims are circular.

3. A molded tray as in claim 1 wherein the overall shape of the base portion is generally rectangular, and including upwardly and outwardly flaring sidewalls joined together at the corners of the tray.

4. A molded tray as in claim 1 wherein rows of upper viewing windows alternate with rows of lower viewing windows.

5. A molded tray as in claim 1 wherein downwardly opening channel shaped ribs are formed in the base portion between the posts, the height of the ribs above the base portion being approximately the same as the height of the product support rims above the base portion.

6. A molded tray as in claim 1 which is molded to final shape from generally opaque, fibrous, biodegradable wood and/or paper pulp, and which in the empty condition is capable of being nestably stacked with other like trays for shipment and storage.

7. A molded tray as in claim 6 wherein upwardly and outwardly flaring sidewalls are joined to the base portion, and downwardly opening channel shaped ribs connect the sidewalls to the posts adjacent thereto.

8. A molded tray as in claim 7 wherein the sidewalls extend higher above the base portion than the height of the product support rims, and downwardly opening channel shaped ribs are formed in the base portion between the posts.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2951605 *Jun 4, 1958Sep 6, 1960Flynn Stanley FEgg crate or case fillers or trays
US3682365 *Jan 27, 1971Aug 8, 1972Diamond Int CorpHigh strength open bottom meat container
US3700096 *Mar 30, 1970Oct 24, 1972Diamond Int CorpFood packaging tray
US3764057 *Aug 14, 1972Oct 9, 1973Diamond Int CorpHigh strength open bottom packaging tray
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3986655 *Feb 3, 1976Oct 19, 1976Keyes Fibre CompanyPackaging tray
US5656135 *Feb 16, 1993Aug 12, 1997Moulded Fibre Technology, Inc.Molded product manufacturing apparatus and methods
US5816409 *Sep 8, 1995Oct 6, 1998Moulded Fibre Technology, Inc.Molded pulp fiber interior package cushioning structures
US6048440 *Jul 21, 1997Apr 11, 2000Moulded Fibre Technology, Inc.Molded product manufacturing apparatus and methods
US7225927Jul 17, 2003Jun 5, 2007Pactiv CorporationCup holder having frusto-conical cavities
US7762400 *Dec 20, 2005Jul 27, 2010Easy Pad LimitedPackaging tray
US7921992Nov 14, 2006Apr 12, 2011Pactiv CorporationContainer having internal reservoir
US8083887May 14, 2007Dec 27, 2011Pactiv CorporationMethod of forming a container having an internal reservoir
US20050012009 *Jul 17, 2003Jan 20, 2005Sweeney Richard C.Cup holder having frusto-conical cavities
US20130256181 *Apr 10, 2012Oct 3, 2013Apple Inc.Tray configured for packaging, packaged product assembly, and method for packaging a product
Classifications
U.S. Classification229/407
International ClassificationB65D1/34
Cooperative ClassificationB65D1/34
European ClassificationB65D1/34