|Publication number||USRE36425 E|
|Application number||US 09/067,748|
|Publication date||Dec 7, 1999|
|Filing date||Apr 28, 1998|
|Priority date||Dec 4, 1995|
|Also published as||US5638950|
|Publication number||067748, 09067748, US RE36425 E, US RE36425E, US-E-RE36425, USRE36425 E, USRE36425E|
|Inventors||Edward L. Benno|
|Original Assignee||Benno; Edward L.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (7), Referenced by (2), Classifications (8), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The invention relates to the art of secondary packaging such as multipackages of beverages for consumers, and primarily to the making, distributing and selling of consumer multipackages as a unitary assembly with a portable platform such as a pallet. Pallet assemblies of consumer packages are being used more and more in that assemblied condition throughout the entire path from manufacturer to consumer. In addition to motor vehicles, hand trucks and fork-lift trucks are used to move the pallet loads of consumer packages directly to selling sites in the stores.
Presently many large supermarket and warehouse store operations require the beverage producer or distributor to be responsible for placing the multipackages virtually in the hands of the consumer. Starting at the producer's plant, packages such for example as 12-packs or 24-packs are stacked on pallets. Commonly by using fork-lift trucks the producer moves the pallet loads as completed either into his warehouse or directly into a delivery truck. The producer then drives the truck to scheduled retail stores. At large supermarket or warehouse stores the producer generally will use a hand truck to remove an entire pallet load of beverage packages and carry the pallet load directly into the store on the retailer's selling floor as directed by the retailer. After preparing the pallet load for sale of the individual packages, on occasion the producer's employee may even stay in the store next to the display and place the beverage packages in the consumer's shopping cart.
The invention is directed to a method for making pallet loads of secondary food or beverage packages, and also to the assemblies of such packages. The primary object of the invention is to use a low cost, environmentally sound, consumer friendly, secondary package to assemble pallet loads of the secondary packages by a method and in an assembly that is low cost, efficient, and environmentally advantageous, from the point at which the secondary packages are made to the hands of a consumer in a store.
A feature of the invention is the unique use of packages such as taught in U.S. Pat. No. 5,168,989 in the practice of the invention.
Other objects and features of the invention will be apparent upon a persual of the hereinafter following detailed description read in conjunction with the drawings.
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a preferred embodiment of an assembly of the invention; and
FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary elevational view of a portion of the assembly of FIG. 1 to show how the packages are all interlocked through and with the layer separating sheets.
The detailed description of the invention can be more readily understood by a study of the secondary packages shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,168,989 which by reference is incorporated herein.
As taught in that patent, each of the packages 10 of FIGS. 1 and 2 comprises an upstanding central paperboard member 11. As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 of the noted patent, the member 11 is conveniently made of an elongated paperboard strip transversely folded at the longitudinal center to form an upstanding upper handle section with finger openings provided therethrough. From the handle section the folded paperboard strip extends downwardly between a plurality of primary packages such as cans. Within the scope of the invention the primary packages could have other shapes such as bottle-like. The lower end portions of the paperboard strip are folded outwardly and thence upwardly a short distance along two lower outer opposed surfaces of the containers. A stretched and tensioned tube of a thin plastics material film such as polyethylene is positioned about the containers and the described paperboard strip below the handle section to complete the package. The upstanding handle section is indicated at 12 in FIG. 1. The stretched and tensioned film tube is indicated at 13 in FIGS. 1 and 2. The portion of the package 10 below the handle 11 may be called the body section of the package. As seen at 14 in FIG. 2 at the lower end of the body section of each package 10 there is a close slot 14 extending upwardly from the lower surface of the body section. The stretched and tensioned film tube 13 maintains the close slot 14 resiliently closed.
In a preferred embodiment of the invention a portable platform 15 is provided. The upper surface of the platform 15 is relatively flat and between the vertical legs 16 thereof there is a slot for lifting and carrying members 17 such as the tines of a hand truck or a fork-lift truck. The upper surface of the platform 15 can be provided with a curb thereabout if there arises a fear that the beverage load may slide from the platform in transport and handling. Preferably, a slot 18 is provided in the platform 15 below the upper surface for the storage of the sheets 19 as the load of packages 10 is dismantled in the store. That arrangement permits all of the elements of the invention that are not sold to be returned to the beverage producer. Obviously, to the extent the platform or pallet 10 and the sheets 19 maintain sufficient integrity in use, they may be reused by the beverage producer to lower the cost of using the invention and to follow environmental goals.
In the assembly of the preferred embodiment shown in the drawing, the beverage producer in his plant takes a first number of completed packages 10 and sets them upon the platform 15 in a pattern of rows and ranks. This is conveniently done by the producer with a machine called a pallet loader which operates to take packages from the package assembling machine and position them on the pallet. The number of packages 10 shown in each layer in the drawing, eighteen, is not a limiting factor in the invention.
After the first number of packages 10 is assembled on the platform 15, a sheet 19 is positioned on top of the packages 10. A number of identically formed sheets 19 are provided for the number of layers of packages 10. The sheets 19 are formed of a semi-rigid material such as paperboard. The paperboard may be coated with a varnish or plastics material to render it water-resistant and strong enough for repeated use. The sheets 19 are provided with a number of openings 20 therethrough. The openings 20 are arranged on each sheet 19 in the pattern of the rows and ranks of the upstanding handle sections 12 of the packages 10. Preferably the peripheral size and shape of the openings 20 should be slightly larger than the cross-sectional configuration of a handle section 12 so that a sheet 19 effectively locks an entire layer of packages 10 together as a unit.
When a sheet 19 is properly positioned on the first number of packages 10, the upstanding handle sections 12 will upstand above the sheet 19. A second number of packages 10 is then positioned in the same pattern of rows and ranks as the first number of package 10 on top of the first sheet 19. In so positioning the second number of packages 10, the close slots 14 of the second number of packages 10 will be telescopically applied over the handle sections 12 of the first number of packages 10. That arrangement or cooperation is shown in FIG. 2. The elastic and resilient tensioned tube 13 will resiliently close the close slot 14 against the upstanding handle section 12 of the first number of packages 10. Obviously, the lower portions of a package 10 may be spread outwardly by the thickness of a handle section 12. However, in reductions to practice of the invention, such spreading appeared unnoticeable with the thickness of the handle section at about one sixteenth of an inch.
Over the upstanding handle sections 12 of the second number of packages 10 a second sheet 19 is positioned. That is followed by a third number of packages 10 and a third sheet 19. In the embodiment shown in the drawing, four layers of packages 10 and four sheets 19 are used to complete the assembly. In commercial uses the total height of the assembly should be that which permits consumers to easily reach the upper packages.
In use in a store, after the beverage producer or distributor has placed the assembly in a store aisle, it is only necessary to manually remove the uppermost sheet 19 and slide it into the slot 18. Consumers need then merely grasp the handle section 12 of one of the uppermost packages and easily lift the package from the assembly and place it in their shopping cart. After the uppermost layer of packages have been removed and sold, someone should remove the next sheet 19 and slide it into the slot 18. If not removed immediately, a consumer can easily lift one corner of the next sheet 19 and take a package 10.
During the entire life of the assembly in a store it remains a secure and safe arrangement substantially locked against accidental destruction by a jarring or striking of the assembly.
Having described the invention, it is to be understood that changes can be made in the described embodiment by a person skilled in the art within the spirit and scope of the claims.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US20070199845 *||Apr 21, 2005||Aug 30, 2007||Peter Hartwall||Trayconcept|
|USD667305||Mar 9, 2012||Sep 18, 2012||International Paper Company||Tray|
|U.S. Classification||206/144, 206/386, 53/449, 206/430|
|Cooperative Classification||B65D2571/00043, B65D71/0088|
|Nov 1, 2000||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Sep 28, 2004||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Nov 19, 2008||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12