|Publication number||USRE33264 E|
|Application number||US 07/369,459|
|Publication date||Jul 17, 1990|
|Filing date||Jun 21, 1989|
|Priority date||Apr 18, 1986|
|Publication number||07369459, 369459, US RE33264 E, US RE33264E, US-E-RE33264, USRE33264 E, USRE33264E|
|Inventors||William H. Baxley, Marion H. Weatherford, Harry B. Wilfong, Jr., Floyd B. Williams|
|Original Assignee||Sonoco Products Company|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (30), Referenced by (35), Classifications (6), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The invention here is generally concerned with thermoplastic shopping bags and the like, and more particularly packs of such bags interrelated in a manner which enables the simultaneous mounting of multiple bags, as a unit, on a rack with the bags, in turn, being individually opened and loaded while on the rack, and subsequently removed therefrom.
Bags of the general type involved herein are frequently formed from flattened tube portions selectively severed from a length of tubing of appropriate material and subsequently heat sealed along the lower and upper edges thereof. An appropriate mouth-defining U-shaped cutout is normally made through the sealed upper edge, this cutout simultaneously defining both the upper mouth of the bag and a pair of laterally spaced handles. Such bags can be formed both with or without side gussets.
In has become increasingly common to provide such bags in packs for suspension on racks with the individual bags separately dispensed therefrom. Pursuant thereto, the pack bags have typically included apertured tear-off tabs with the rack support element received through the apertured tabs and with the entire tab being severed from the bag as the bag is removed from the rack for loading. Examples of bag packs of this type will be noted in the following patents:
U.S. Pat. No. 4,480,750, Dancy,
U.S. Pat. No. 4,529,090, Pilon.
In each of these patents, the forming of the mounting aperture simultaneously effects a heat sealing of the bags together. This in turn requires a severing of the bag from the tabs, and hence releasing the bag from the rack, as a precondition to opening the bag for loading.
Typical examples of multiple bags mounted on and dispensed from racks will be seen in the following patents:
U.S. Pat. No. 2,790,591-Rosen,
U.S. Pat. No. 4,106,733-Walitalo,
U.S. Pat. No. 4,106,734-Walitalo.
In each of the above, the bags include one or more aperture which receive a rod-like member therethrough.
Typical examples of multiple bags releasably adhesively bonded to each other in a pack will be seen in the following patents:
U.S. Pat. No. 2,715,493-Vogt,
U.S. Pat. No. 3,915,302-Farrelly et al.
Bags of the present invention are what are commonly referred to as T-shirt or handle bags, normally formed of a thin, highly flexible thermoplastic material.
It is a primary intention of the invention to provide such bags in multiple-bag packs wherein the bags are fixedly positioned relative to each other for mounting as a unit on a combined holding, loading and dispensing rack. In conjunction therewith, it is proposed that the bags of the bag pack be so formed as to receive support rods through the upstanding handles of the bags, both within the pack itself and as the bags are individually drawn therefrom and loaded.
In addition to the mounting of the bag pack at the mounting tabs as in Pilon, U.S. Pat. No. 4,529,090, provision is also made for a direct engagement and continued support of the individual bags on the rack for a filling of the bag after the individual bags are drawn from the packs. This basically involves defining of rod-receiving apertures through the stacked handles. It is of course essential that the apertures through the individual bags maintain exact alignment for introduction onto the mounting rods as a unit. This is inherently difficult primarily because of the extremely thin highly flexible nature of the material of the bags, particularly in the handle or handle portions thereof which is the desired area of support for the bags both as the bags are dispensed and during the filling of the bags.
In providing for bag handle alignment, or more particularly mounting aperture alignment, the present invention proposed an additional direct bonding of the bags to each other at the handle apertures. However, as can be appreciated, such a bonding or securing of the bags, while essential in maintaining the alignment of the apertures for a mounting of the bag pack, must not interfere with the removal of individual bags from the pack, and the related spreading of the handles for access thereto as a means for supporting the individual bag, both on the loading portion of the rack and by the utlimate carrier of the bag.
To accommodate the apparently conflicting problems of positive aperture alignment and free handle movement, the present invention proposes the formation of the apertures by the cutting of aperture-forming flaps from the handles, which flaps are retained integral with the corresponding handles by only a minor area. These minor areas are readily severable upon the application of a force thereto generated, as an example, either by the rod being introduced past the flaps and through the apertures, or by an outward pulling of one bag relative to another. In order to provide for the desired releasable securing of the bags with the handle apertures aligned, the flaps themselves are joined, preferably by heat bonding. Thus, until such time as the flaps are severed from the bags, the apertures are in fixed alignment with each other.
Inasmuch as the apertures which are to receive the support rods are to include an area of severance about the periphery thereof, it is particularly desirable that this area of severance not propagate a tear in the material when the aperture is subjected to stress from the support rod under bag-loading conditions. Accordingly, as the rod will naturally engage the upper periphery of the aperture the area of severance will be defined at the diammetrically opposed lower portion of the aperture periphery, the area of least stress. Further, the manner in which the apertures and flaps are formed provides for the area of severance inward of the circumference of the freely cut or severed major periphery of the apertures. In other words, the ends of each aperture cut line, which follows a circular path, terminate in inwardly curled spaced relation to each other whereby any tendency for the cut line to tear at the ends thereof will result in an inward tearing into the flap itself as opposed to into the bag or through the periphery of the aperture. Further, upon a severance of the individual flaps between the closely spaced ends of the cut line, the resultant material will comprise a small inwardly extended loose unstressed lip of material.
As a variation to the provision of the apertures directly through the bag handles, should it be desirable to maintain the handle integrity in order to preserve the maximum strength thereof while at the same time providing the desired support of the bags at the handles, the handles may be provided with inwardly directed integral tabs which constitute a permanent extension of the bag handles. These tabs in turn will have the aforedescribed flap-defined apertures therethrough.
The invention also contemplates a unique interaction between the individual bags of the pack as the bags are sequentially drawn from the rack-mounted pack, first for loading and subsequently for a removal from the rack for transportation. Basically, a readily severable adhesive engagement between the rear or inner face of each bag and the forward face of the big inwardly or immediately rearward thereof enables a forward drawing of a bag and a spreading of the wall thereof into the loading position as a previously loaded bag is removed from the rack. The rack itself is so configured so as to allow for a substantially automatic disengagement of the loaded bag from the subsequent bag as the subsequent bag reaches the loading position in a fully opened handle supported orientation.
It will be appreciated that the central mounting tabs, in addition to providing a support for the intermediate section of the pack, also facilitate an opening of the mouth of the individual bags as they are sequentially moved into loading or filling position.
Basically, each bag tab includes front and rear panels which are, respectively, extensions of the front and rear bag walls. Thus, as the front wall of a bag is drawn forward, it will sever from the associated tab panel while the corresponding rear wall is retained by its tab panel, resulting in a complete opening of the bag mouth. The rear wall will, in turn, sever from its tab panel during loading or filling of the bag. Alternatively, removal of the loaded bag will readily sever the rear wall of the bag from its tab panel.
Additional objects and advantages will become apparent from the details of construction and manner of use as more fully hereinafter described and claimed.
FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view of a bag pack formed in accord with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of a rack-mounted bag pack with selected bags drawn forwardly therefrom;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged plan view of a bag handle with a flap-defined mounting aperture therein;
FIG. 4 is a partial perspective view illustrating a bag pack mounted on a rack with the handles engaged with the pair of mounting rods and the tabs engaged with the central hook element;
FIG. 5 is a partial perspective view of a variation of the bags and pack wherein no central tab is provided;
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional detail, in perspective, taken substantially on a plane passing along line 6--6 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional detail similar to FIG. 6 illustrating the severance of the flaps as the pack mounts on a rod;
FIG. 8 is a plan detail of a rod-mounted pack detailing the rod and aperture relationship;
FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional detail similar to FIG. 7 illustrating a variation wherein the flaps, rather than being severed upon the introduction of the mounting rod, will sever upon the selected dispensing of the individual bags from the pack;
FIG. 10 is a partial perspective view illustrating a bag forwardly drawn from the pack and maintained on a support rod in its loading position; and
FIG. 11 is a partial perspective detail of a variation with regard to location of the flap-defined mounting apertures.
Referring now more specifically to the drawings, reference numeral 10 designates a bag pack formed, in accord with the present invention, of multiple individual bags 12.
The bags 12 are preferably of a lightweight, highly flexible and strong thermoplastic material, and are conventionally fabricated from a continuous plastic tube gusseted, flattened and heat sealed at opposed upper and lower ends. The mouth 14 of the bag 12 is formed by a cutout inwardly and centrally through the upper portion of the bag. This cutout defines a central mounting tab 15 and a pair of laterally spaced upwardly extending handles 16 formed of upwardly extending portions of the front and rear panels 18 and 20 of the bag 12 respectively as well as similarly upwardly extending portions of the side gussets 22. A cutline or slit 23, formed between the tab 15 and bag 12 provides, in a known manner, reduced force severable joinder areas for a ready severance of the bag from the tab. The multiple individual bags are in turn maintained in the pack 10 by a direct heat bonding of the tabs together. Such bag construction, as thus far described, is generally known in the art as will be appreciated from Pilon, U.S. Pat. No. 4,529,090.
It is a principal purpose of the invention to provide for the mounting of a pack 10 of the bags 12 on a support rack 24 for both the selective dispensing of the individual bags 12 and the support and suspension of the individual bags by the handles and with the open mouth upwardly directed for a loading of the bag. The rack 24 will basically consist of a flat base or support panel 26 and a pair of laterally spaced supporting arms 28 positioned vertically above the base panel 26 a distance sufficient to accommodate a fully expanded bag with the handles 16 engaged with support arms 28 and the bottom of the bag on the panel 26. A transverse member 29, extending between the support arms 28, will support a tab receiving hook element 30 for engagement through the tab apertures 31 as illustrated. The support arms 28 and transverse member 29 may be rigid with a vertical member which in turn has the lower end thereof appropriately rigidly affixed to the panel 26 toward the rear thereof. The bag pack 10 will normally be accommodated generally rearward on the rack 24 toward the upright, or vertical member, allowing for the forward extent of the support panel 26 and overlying support rods 28 to accommodate an opened bag for loading purposes. The rack 24 will also normally include upturned forward ends 32 on the laterally spaced horizontal support rods 28, for purposes which will be described subsequently.
As will be appreciated for FIGS. 2 and 4, it is specifically intended that the bag pack 10 be suspended from the support rods 28 by handles 16 in a manner whereby each individual bag 12, as it is moved forward from the pack 10, is retained in an upright open position, also by the handle engaged support rods 28, for a loading thereof prior to removal from the rack 24 and normally prior to a complete disengagement of the bag from the remainder of the pack. Accordingly, specific provision is made, in the present invention, for the engagement of the handles 16 with the support rods 28.
The engagement of the bag handles 16 is achieved by the provision of rod receiving aperture 34, one through each bag handle 16, at a central point slightly below mid-height thereof. However, in order for the bags to be loaded on the support arms 28 as a pack, it is essential that the formed mounting holes or apertures 34 be maintained in alignment. In order to achieve this alignment, each of the apertures is defined by a flap 36 severed from the corresponding handle 16 along a substantially circular cut line 38 which terminates in a pair of inwardly and upwardly curled ends 40 in close laterally spaced relation to each other at the bottom of the aperture 34, that is that portion of the aperture 34 directed to the bottom of the bag 12. These laterally spaced ends 40 define an integral joinder area 42 between the flap 36 and the bag handle 16 with this joinder are 42 being in the nature of a readily severable portion capable of being easily torn upon the introduction of a force thereto.
It is particularly significant that the ends 40 of the cut 38 be inwardly directed in that any tendency for these ends to propagate a tearing beyond the length thereof will result in an inward tearing into the flap itself, rather than a disruption of the bag, or more particularly the bag handle as might affect its carrying capability. Further, inasmuch as the flap 36 is to ultimately be severed between the ends 40, it is particularly desirable that this area of severance be slightly inward of the periphery of the aperture as defined by the major circular portion of the cut 38, again to effectively prevent any tendency for the tear area to propagate a tearing of the handle beyond the small severance area or portion. In conjunction therewith, it will also be appreciated that the area of severance, located at the bottom of the rod receiving aperture 34, is at the point of least stress upon a suspension of the bag from the rods 28 in that the rods 28 will engage the upper periphery of the apertures 34, centrally within the area of the smooth circular cut 38.
Incidentally, as should be readily apparent, reference to an aperture or hole 34 through a corresponding handle 16, in conjunction with the aperature defining flap 36, actually entails a forming of flaps and apertures through all layers of the corresponding handle 16, including the handle extensions of the front and rear bag panels and the extensions of the interposed side gusset 22.
As a practical expedient, the partially severed flaps 36, and apertures 34 defined thereby, will normally be cut through the stacked handles after an assembly of multiple bags in a pack. Either prior to or simultaneously with the forming of the cut line 38 through the stacked bag handles, the flaps 36, or those areas which are to define the flaps 36, are bonded together throughout the full stack, including the multiple layers thereof. This may be effected by the use of a heated pin or rod extended centrally through the flaps 36 to directly heat seal the flaps together as indicated by the flap traversing central bore 44.
The heat bonding of the flap 36 together, in both stacks of handles 16, bonds the bags of the bag pack together in a manner whereby the mounting apertures 34 are fixed in alignment for a simplified and expedient mounting of the handles on the support rods 28 of the rack 24. One need merely grasp the two handle stacks of each bag pack and slide the handles over the support rods 28 with the rods 28 moving easily through the aligned apertures 34. As the pack is moved to the rear of the rack, the bonded together tabs 15 are in turn engaged with the hook element 30.
Noting FIG. 6, it is contemplated that as the bags move onto the support rods 28, the rods will sever the aligning flaps 36 which, in the mounted bags, are no longer necessary. The actual severing of the flaps will take place at the severance point 42 of the individual flaps which, as previously described, is so located as to be in the area of least stress to both preclude tear propagation and maintain structural integrity. As suggested in FIG. 8, should the introduction of the rods 28 not effect a complete severing of the flaps 36, the flap 36 will be folded downward with the actual severing thereof, and hence the releasing of the individual bags, being effected during the movement of the individual bags, forwardly to the loading position. In other words, a slight forward pulling on the leading bag, and particularly the forward portions of the handles thereof, will readily sever the flaps at the severance areas 42 if such a severance has not in fact occurred upon the initial introduction of the rods 28.
In order to facilitate an automatic following and opening of the bags during the loading operation, the rear panel 20 of each bag 12, centrally thereof and in slightly spaced relation below the bag mouth 14, is provided with a minor area of readily disengageable adhesive 46 which adhesively bonds to the forward panel 18 of a following or underlying bag 12. Noting FIG. 2 in particular, after the loading of a first bag 12, the handles 16 thereof are grasped and the bag moved off of the upturned ends 32 of the support arms 28. This results in a simultaneous forward drawing, through the adhesively bonded area 46, of the front wall of a following bag. The front wall will sever from its tab panel and forward progress of the following bag will be resisted by the leading portion of the handles engaging the upturned ends 32 on the support arms 28. This reaction is greater than the bonding force of the adhesive 46 whereby the adhesive bonding between the loading bag and the following bag is severed, leaving the following bag in an open upwardly directed position for loading. As will be appreciated, the adhesive bonding need only be sufficient to sever the following front wall from its tab panel and move the extremely lightweight flexible bag. Inasmuch as there is no adhesive between the front and rear walls or panels of the single bags, the following bag will open as the rear wall thereof is retained by the adhesive bonding to the front wall of the bag therebehind.
Noting FIG. 10, as a variation, the flap-formed handle mounting apertures can be defined through tabs 48 integrally formed on the inner vertical edges of the handles 16, the flaps and apertures formed in the tabs 48 duplicating the flaps and apertures 36 and 34 previously described. The particular advantage in such an arrangement is that the actual integrity of the handle 16 need not be violated. The tabs 48, as an integral portion of the corresponding handles 16, remain therewith after a severance of the flaps.
The preferred flap and aperture configuration has been illustrated and described in detail, however, other configurations are possible within the scope of the invention. In each instance, the aperture-defining cut lines are to so configured whereby any tendency for the bag to tear beyond the cut lines will be inwardly directed toward the removable flap and will not affect the integrity of the handle. Similarly, the severance point or area should also not affect bag integrity, and thus should be located in the area of minimum stress and within what might be considered the periphery of the flap itself. The flaps, regardless of their particular configuration, will be bonded together to define the temporary means for aligning the apertures and stabilizing the stacked bag handles for simultaneous mounting on the support rods 28 of an appropriate rack 24. Noting FIG. 5, while the bags have been presented and detailed above as including central mounting tabs, a variation wherein the bags are formed without these tabs is also contemplated. In such a case, the bags 12 will be mounted, as a pack 10, only on the support arms 28 received through the bag handle apertures 34. The manner of moving the individual bags to a loading position will remain substantially the same as above described, with the leading bag opening the immediately following bag by means of the adhesively bonded area 46.
From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that the unique aperture-defining flaps, which function as a means to align and interengage the handles of the individual bags of a bag pack, provide for a mounting of the pack as a unit with the individual bags, simultaneously with the mounting thereof, being sufficiently disengaged from the remainder of the bags in the pack to enable a sequential forward drawing of the bags, while maintaining the full support thereof, to an open loading position. There is no necessity for removal of the individual bags from the support arms or rack for a loading thereof. Further, the bags, notwithstanding the thin and highly flexible nature of the material thereof, are readily handable as a pack:
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|U.S. Classification||206/554, 206/806, 383/9|
|Oct 26, 1990||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Oct 17, 1994||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8